Sri Lanka v New Zealand: 1st T20 commentary

By Tristan Holme   Last updated: 2nd September 2009  

New Zealand win by 3 runs. A truly unbelievable win for the Black Caps. Dlishan's hard-hitting knock looked to have sewn up the win for the home side, but a middle order capitulation gave the New Zealanders a sniff and they managed to hold on for a memorable victory.

Over 20 Oram W-W-1-lb-2-1 138-9 - WICKET! McCullum nearly ran past that one but takes a good catch in the end! Heaved out to long off where the Kiwi raced off the rope and nearly missed judged the catch. WICKET! Another one, this is unbelievable! Kulasekara hammers the ball out to long on where Broom takes the catch. Oram is on a hat trick! It's a good yorker which Malinga fends away for a single. Mendis moves way outside off stumps and manages to pick up a leg bye as the ball flies into the off side. Oooh, that was so close! Slashed into the extra cover region Nathan McCullum makes a valiant effort and nearly takes a superb catch. Five needed off the last ball. And it's just a single! Unbelievable, new Zealand have won it!

Over 19 Bond 1-1-1-0-0-1 133-7 - Bond is back for his last over. A single hammered down to long off for one. Another one down the ground. New Zealand have Brendon McCullum down at long off and he's doing well to make sure they just get the single. Punched back to the bowler where Bond half stops the ball and it's another single. Dot ball, those are like gold. Another dot, slightly indifferent stuff from Bandara as he goes for the big one and doesn't read the slower ball. Full toss to end from Bond, just a single though. A good comeback from bond after he was slaughtered by Dilshan early on.

Over 18 Mills 1-0-2-2-1-1 129-7 - Slashed out into the deep and for a moment it looks like it's going to find the fielder but falls short of Nathan McCullum. Good slower ball from Mills beats Bandara. After a great night in the field Ryder misfields and costs his side two runs. Punched down the ground and again there's a fumble and again it's a costly one with the batsmen picking up two when there was just one. Played out to Vettori at mid off and they sneak through for the single, a direct hit would have sent Bandara packing but he can't find the target. One more to end the over, this is going to be tight.

Over 17 Oram 1-1-3-1-1-W 122-7 - Sloppy stuff, Kulasekara wanted the single as he nudges the ball into the covers, McCullum hurls in a poor throw that McGlashan can't hold and they get an overthrow. One more as the ball is played out to long on. Well palyed by Kulasekara as he upper cuts the ball into the point region, it holds up in the outfield and won't get to the fence, and they pick up three. Just short of Mills at short third man and they sneak through for a single. Slashed out to deep cover for one more. WICKET! That changes things, Mathews his gone. He won't be able with that, chipping the ball back to Oram who takes the return catch.

Over 16 Butler 1-1-1-1-1-1 115-6 - Mathews dabs the ball into the covers and picks up a single. Kulasekara pushes forward and nudges the ball to third man. Neatly tucked round the corner by Mathews and he picks up a single. One more turned into the leg side, they're dealing in singles at the moment. Down the track and cracked through cover for a single. Six singles in total in that over, good batting.

Over 15 Vettori 0-1-0-1-0-W 109-6 - The skipper is back into the attack. Rupasinghe goes on the sweep and nearly holes out to Broom in the deep but the ball drops short. A bit short and the ball is slapped to long off where Oram fumbles but he isn't looks to clip the ball into the leg side and is hit in front.

Over 14 Oram 1-1-4-2-0-4 107-5 - A quick single turned into the leg side. Another flick of the wrists results in a single. Just chipping away at the total. Mathews has got that one away, swept over short fine leg for four, a definite release of pressure there. Didn't get hold of that one as he tries to whip the ball away, gets a leading edge and the ball loops over the bowlers head. Oooh, some more indecision nearly results in another run out as Mathews looks for a single that isn't there. Mathews ends the over well, taking the ball from outside off and depositing it behind square on the leg side for four.

Over 13 Bond 1-1-0-0-0-1 95-5 - Shane Bond returns to the fray. Mathews dabs the ball down to long on for a single. Nicely timed past a diving McCullum at point and they pick up a single. Another single down the ground to end the over, a good comeback from Bond.

Over 12 Mills 1-1-0-3-0-1 92-5 - Kyle Mills returns to the attack. Two run out chances there as Rupasinghe prods the ball into the covers and sets off for the single, Brendon McCullum swoops in and hurls a throw at the keepers end as the batsman decide against the run, it would have been out if he had found the target. The Sri Lankans decide to run the overthrow and Rupasinghe is nearly run out at the other end as the ball just flies over the stumps. Rupasinghe flicks the ball into the leg side and there is a poor misfield from Guptill in the deep, allowing the batsmen to get through for an extra two runs. A single to mid off to end the over.

Over 11 Vettori 0-0-0-0-1-0 86-5 - Vettori bowls a legside line to Rupasinghe, who can't beat the field with a series of prods and dabs. The varying pace from the bowler is excellent and also keeps the batsman guessing before he eventually gets a single to backward square leg for a stab. Just one from the over, and the required rate slips above six per over.

Over 10 Butler 0-4-1-0-0-W 85-5 - Butler continues but drops short to Rupasinghe, and the debutant pulls handsomely through midwicket for four to relieve some of the pressure. WICKET! However after managing a quick single from the next ball, Kapugedera gets stuck on strike and panics. The result is a wild heave and a miss at the final delivery which knocks back off stump. Angelo Mathews comes in with Sri Lanka needing less than a run a ball. Cool heads are required.

Over 9 Vettori 1-0-1-1-2-0 80-4 - Rupasinghe gets off the mark with a single to the legside, and Chamara Kapugedera follows suit with a drive to long-on. The new batsman also gets a couple for a paddle down to fine leg, but it's a cheap over and the pressure is just notching up a little here.

Over 8 Butler 4-1-1lb-2-0-W 75-4 - Shot boss! Butler bowls a yorker outside off stump, but Dilshan just sends it racing away square of the wicket for four. He just seems to find the gaps so easily! Butler digs the next ball in and Dilshan hooks it down to fine leg for a single, and Rupasinghe's wait for an international run continues as he gets a leg-bye. Dilshan whips the next ball through midwicket and comes scurrying back for a second. WICKET! Dilshan's gone! Butler switched to bowling around the wicket, and with his second ball like that he gets Dilshan to slice one to Ryder at backward point, where he takes a very good catch diving to his left. Game on now.

Over 7 Vettori 0-1-1-1-W-0 67-3 - Time for some spin, so Peter McGlashan's up to the stumps with his baseball grille covering his face. Vettori's drift brings unusual caution to Dilshan, who just gets a single from the first two deliveries. Another single two balls later takes him to 50 in just 23 balls (7x4s, 2x6s). WICKET! Sangakkara's furious with himself and it's easy to understand why because he's offered an easy catch for McCullum at short midwicket. New Zealand desperately need wickets if they're to haul themselves back into this match so that will offer hope. Gihan Rupasinghe pulls his first ball in international cricket but McCullum dives full length to prevent any runs.

Over 6 Oram 1-1-4-2-0-2 64-2 - Jacob Oram is thrown the ball for the final over of the powerplay, and New Zealand wisely put a man back on the cover boundary for Dilshan. At least that way they can safely bowl outside off - preventing any scooping - and just concede a single unless it's a ridiculously incredible shot. Of course Sangakkara's no mug in this game and he belts one back past mid-on for four, then hits the next ball to the other side of the same fielder and gets a couple more. Oram's final ball is a good yorker, but Sangakkara squeezes it past his stumps and gets two down to fine leg.

Over 5 Butler W-0-3-4-4-0 54-2 - WICKET Absolutely brilliant from Ryder! Dilshan chopped the ball to the Kiwi at wide-ish gully, where he flung himself to his left to make the stop, then pivoted to throw down the stumps and find Jayawardene - who looked shocked - short of his ground. Superb piece of fielding and it brings Kumar Sangakkara to the crease. He gets his second ball through the covers and earns three as Guptill slips in the outfield. That puts Dilshan on strike and of course he just lathers it through the offside for four. Fine leg is up as the offside is further protected, so Dilshan lifts the next one over his head and gets four more. He fails to repeat the shot with the final delivery, but Sri Lanka's equation already looks simple enough: 88 required from 90 balls.

Over 4 Mills 6-2-6-1-0-0 43-1 - Sixer! Dilshan's first of the innings as he swings hard at a shortish ball and just clears the rope at backward square leg. The second ball is clipped down to fine leg for a couple, but the third is dispatched over long-on with a huge hit for another maximum. A single to mid-off provides some relief for Mills as Dilshan moves onto 39 from just 15 deliveries, and Jayawardene misses out on the final two deliveries. With the rate Dilshan's going at, two dot balls are hardly a concern for Sri Lanka.

Over 3 Bond 3-0-1-0-0-0 28-1 - Jayawardene faces up to Bond, who drops short and is upper-cut past point by the batsman. A tag-team effort by the Kiwi fielders prevents the boundary but the Sri Lankans run hard and manage three. The rest of the over is very good from Bond, who bowls outside off stump on a good length that prevents any attacking shots. Extra bounce sees Jayawardene miss with an attempted dab down to third man, so just four runs come from the over in total.

Over 2 Mills 1-4-1-0-W-2 24-1 - With his batting partner in full flow already, an inside edge to backward point suits Sanath Jayasuriya just fine. Dilshan gets down on one knee to play his trademark scoop over the keeper's head and executes it to perfection, so that's four more. WICKET! Jayasuriya departs after getting caught halfway through his pull shot to top-edge a simple catch to Bond at short fine leg. Mahela Jayawardene comes in at number three but Dilshan has strike for the final delivery, which he flicks through midwicket for a couple.

Over 1 Bond 0-4-4-4-4-0 16-0 - Take that! Bond shows real pace with his first ball back in international cricket, digging it in and getting good bounce as Dilshan swipes and misses. But then he gets a pasting: the next ball is a low full toss that's edged past slip for four, and Dilshan reaches for a wider delivery and spoons it over extra cover for another boundary. He then makes it three in a row with a splendid drive past mid-off, and follows that with a clean hit over the same area. Bond's final ball is a well-disguised slower one that nips in and almost bowls Dilshan, but that was a tough return to the arena for Bond.

GAME ON The players are out on the field, ready to roll. No overs have been lost, so Sri Lanka still need 142 to win from 20 overs at 7.1 per over.

THAT'S BETTER The rain has stopped and the covers are coming off, so we'll be back underway shortly. All the focus will be on Shane Bond's return to international cricket and how he contends with the Twenty20 beast that is Tillakaratne Dilshan.

DELAY A bit of a hold-up here due to rain. The covers are on but it's not that heavy - the New Zealand players are waiting anxiously on the boundary, ready to go once the light drizzle fades. Hopefully we'll be good to go in the next 20 minutes or so.

INNINGS BREAK New Zealand never really got going and their openers were just downright poor while Sri Lanka left them in a spin. This score might be 20 runs under par on this pitch but ... it is cricket and anything can happen. Join us in about 10 minutes for the chase.

Over 20 Malinga 1-W-W-lb-1-3 141-8 Broom starts off the over with a very lucky single - it goes straight in the air and just hangs while Sanga calls for it and fumble, stumbles with a misjudged dive as the ball plonks down in front of him. WICKET! Mills is sent packing as the slinger fires a yorker which goes right into the middle of the stumps . Cheers. WICKET! So much for Dan the man, Vettori backs away and misses his shot and the middle stump is pegged back. He's on a hat trick and the crowd has gone absolutely mental now. He fails to get the hat-trick though as a deflection off Butler's pads brings the Kiwis a single. That was sliding down leg so no use in even appealing. Another single and three off the final ball thanks to an overthrow brings us to the end of the innings.

Over 19 Kulasekara W-0-2-4-1-1 135-6 WICKET! Absolutely brilliant work in the field by Sri Lanka yields another wicket. McGlashan clips towards square leg and Mathews collects - and sends the ball to Sanga who takes it in front of the stumps and pushes back to dislodge the bails. Mills is in now, where's Vettori? Mills takes a couple towards long-off to get off the mark before adding a much-needed boundary to the total. Four runs - slapped over the bolwer's head. This score is still very low, though.

Over 18 Mathews 1-2-1-1-4-W 120-5 The crowd is alive - they know Sri Lanka are doing well. Taylor and Broom manage nothing but running between the wickets and Taylor is almost sent packing after he tries to slap one through cover but a top edge drops just short of third man - Kulasekara charged in to try and catch that but his timing wasn't the best. A single towards cover follows and the fielder does well to cut it short. Taylor collects another four by smashing one through point but the pressure and responsibility eventually becomes too much and he tries to hole out to third man again where Kulasekara takes a low, well-judged catch times time. What would the Kiwis have done without Taylor's little knock?

Over 17 Mendis 2-2-1-W-0-0 117-4 Taylor does well to keep the scoreboard ticking over at the start of the over before he rotates the strike with an edge towards midwicket. WICKET! Things fall apart for the Kiwis, though, as Oram is sent packing after making room for himself and trying to launch over long-off but a mistimed shot lands in the hands of Kulasekara. Mendis completes the over with two dot balls - this is great work by Sri Lanka. Broom is the new man in, he has a high score of 36 so here's to hoping, for New Zealand's sake, that he'll hit the ground running.

Over 16 Malinga 1-1-1-0-1-0 112-3 Malinga returns to the attack and does well to a put a lid on Taylor and company as the Kiwis manage nothing more but singles from the over thanks to a good couple of yorkers. Four overs left now and there are enough wickets in hand for New Zealand to have a good crack, have they got the courage to do it?

Over 15 Jayasuriya wd-1-1-1-0-4-6 108-3 The batsmen start off the over with a few singles before Taylor decides to have a go. He takes four after he sent a flighted delivery sailing past midwicket to bring up the hundred and responds with six smacked over deep midwicket and miles over the ropes. He's gonna have to play a couple more of those.

Over 14 Bandara 1-1-1-1-1-0 94-3 Bandara completes an excellent over as he restricts the Kiwi batsmen to mere singles - this is important at this stage of the game since big shots are vital. A par score is around 160 and New Zealand will have to have a go some time soon if they hope to get there.

Over 13 Mendis 1-1lb-1-0-1-0 89-3 There's a huge appeal from Sanga behind the stumps as Oram mis-times his drive and wicketkeeper whips off the bails. He's the lone voice in that appeal though and, after it was referred upstairs, the umpires rule that it's not out. New Zealand can't afford to lose another wicket and they have to start thinking about going for the big shots, singles won't do and neither will just four runs from the over.

Over 12 Bandara 6-W-wd-2-2-1-0 85-3 A six lofted down the ground starts off the over before Guptill's fury leads to his demise. WICKET! The man with two toes tries to go for another big one but he doesn't quite get enough bat on it and Kapugedera keeps his eyes on the ball and takes a well-judged catch. Oram is out there now and he needs to stay with Taylor for as long as possible. Taylor does well to keep the scoreboard ticking over and it's 12 runs from the over.

Over 11 Jayasuriya 2-1-0-4-1-2 73-2 Taylor starts off the over with a lucky shot as he gets a top edge and the ball lands in front of Mendis at short fine leg - the fielder didn't look too interested in getting to that. A single follows and Guptill collects four - handy runs those. A single and a couple more follow, this is a good partnership now.

Over 10 Bandara 1-1-1-0-2-1 63-2 - The brave bloke that he is, Bandara offers plenty of flight. Taylor and sidekick won't be tempted, opting for the singles along the turf. Taylor fluffs a full-toss - needing to smear it over the fence he instead smacks it straight back to the bowler. He makes up for it somewhat, forcing two through the on-side with some nifty wrist work. Again Bandara pitches it up, allowing for just the single to be squeezed through point.

Over 9 Mendis 1-0-1-2-1-4 57-2 - The spinner bowls three wrong'uns on the trot, the second of which yields an lbw shout to Taylor too. Not out though, clearly going down the leg-side. Taylor's slog-sweep and Guptill's nudge through the off-side brings up New Zealand's collective half-century. Taylor employs the slog-sweep again, picking the gap between midwicket and square-ish fine-leg to perfection for a welcome boundary.

Over 8 Bandara 0-1-0-0-0-1 48-2 Off-spin from the one end and now leg-spin from the other. No Muralitharan today of course, so it's Bandara. He bowls a veritable mixed bag, proving the near undoing of Guptill for the most part. A mere two runs off the over, to long-off and long-on respectively. This bowler could do with a second slip, me thinks...

Over 7 Mendis 1-1-4-0-0-2 46-2 - The spinner, no longer a mystery spinner, enters the attack. He is granted one slip, who twiddles his thumbs for a couple of singles down the ground before being in with a chance as Guptill smears a boundary to third man. Guptill then tries to go over the top but is flummoxed all ends up and almost has his leg-stump rattled. No go though, but two to long-off are in the offing as Mendis over-pitches.

Over 6 Mathews 0-0-1-1-4-4 38-2 - Malinga is out of the attack after his two-over opening spell. He will probably be back for the death of the innings. Instead, it's the right-arm medium pace of Mathews to pick up the charge. Taylor and Guptill won't like this, they both enjoy the ball coming onto the bat at a rate of knots. Taylor almost holes out at point, but his cut falls short of the diving fielder. A couple of stolen singles to the off-side ensue, after which Taylor makes Mathew's rank long-hop outside the off-stump pay with a wonderful cut to the point fence. It's back-to-back boundaries, as the talented right-hander dances down the track, swings through extra cover and has another four. Poor end to an over that seemed set for a good economy to begin with.

Over 5 Kulasekara 1-0-W-1-0-1 28-2 - Guptill punches a single to deep point, after which Ryder cops a blow to the body after Kulasekara's return throw pings the big guy in the stomach. Ouch. Ryder tries to hit back by launching the slower ball over the long-off fence. WICKET! Not to be though, as it is too high and not far enough. Bandara peddles back at deep mid-off, taking a very nice catch over his shoulder in the end. Under lights and swirling, those are never easy. Taylor is the new man in now, far too soon for his liking. Fine-leg is up in the circle now; anything on the ball and it's four. Taylor can't oblige but does get off the mark thank to a push to cover and ricochet from the unwarranted direct-hit at the non-striker's end.

Over 4 Malinga 0-0-4-1-0-1 25-1 - Ryder throws the kitchen sink at a couple but is beaten all ends by some fierce pace and late away-swing too. More abject footwork somehow seems to work, as the left-hander stands and delivers four through extra cover. Oh my hat! I don't know how Ryder keeps this out - getting an inside edge through his legs, keeping out a slower yorker. Guptill is back to the defensive stuff. No getting your eye in here, mate. Swing from your boots. He eventually gets off the mark with an ugly, upward single to deep mid-off.

Over 3 Kulasekara W-0-0-4-1-0 19-1 - WICKET! Unlucky, son. Ryder drives hard and as straight as an arrow, Kulasekara attempts to field off his own bowling, doesn't gather but does manage a deflection onto the non-striker's wickets. McCullum, backing up way too much, is well short of his crease and thus has to go. Next in is Guptill, who normally opens the batting in the longer format of the game. Meanwhile, Ryder miscues a couple before finding the middle of the bat well enough for four runs through mid-on. A little shuffle across the wickets and subsequent poke outiside the off-stump finds another single to third man. Guptill is all defence first ball up, but let's hope that dogged shot doesn't get too many look-ins today.

Over 2 Malinga 1-0-6-1lb-1wd-1-0 14-0 - Absolutely no footwork from Ryder somehow finds him a single to third man before McCullum looks to advance down the track but is beaten by a short, fast snipe into the shoulder of the bat. Malinga drops short again, too short, and McCullum orchestrates the hefty upper-cut for a biggie over the third-man fence. His thigh pad then gathers a leg-bye, leaving Ryder to swipe at a leg-side wide to no avail. He goes again to a similar delivery and manages an aerial single to fine-leg. McCullum thinks of running a single to first slip, but wisely decides against it at the last second.

Over 1 Kulasekara 0-1-1-0-2-0 4-0 - There's a man set back on the square-leg fence but McCullum isn't tempted yet, instead prodding a short ball to cover and stealing a quick single. Ryder is quickly off the mark with a single of his own, before McCullum continues to use his feet as he eventually beats the in-field on the off-side and gets a couple.

GAME ON Kulasekara to take the new ball, while McCullum and Ryder open the batting for the Black Caps.

CONDITIONS The floodlights are on, the track will prove a touch sluggish, the weather is good and we are all set for play.

INTERNATIONAL BOW Gihan Rupasinghe makes his Sri Lankan debut. He is a middle-order batsman and part-time leg-spinner, in case you were wondering.

TEAMS Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (captain and wicketkeeper), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Gihan Rupasinghe, Nuwan Kulasekara, Malinga Bandara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis. New Zealand: Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Neil Broom, Peter McGlashan (wicketkeeper), Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (captain), Kyle Mills, Ian Butler, Shane Bond.

FEEDBACK Oh I do love hearing from you lot. Mail me here. First and maybe only question of the day - depending on how frantic proceedings are - who is going to perform better in this game? Slinger Malinga or Bomber Bond...

TOSS News from out in the middle reveals Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori has triumphed in the flip of the coin and opted to wield the willow first up.

BOND BACK IN BLACK Much of the focus in the build-up to this game as revolved around the return of New Zealand pace ace Shane Bond, who returns to the international stage after two years in the wildernessthanks to a stint with the ICL. There is massive pressure on him to perform, with many viewing him as the Black Caps saviour Can he live up to the hype? I reckon so...

GREETINGS Hello and welcome to our over-by-over coverage of the first of two Twenty20 Internationals between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

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