By BV Swagath
New Zealand won the Second ODI at Hambantota which was more of a T20 contest after rain and lightening stalled play for more than five hours. Sri Lanka scored only 138 in 23 overs but New Zealand to win the match had to score 60 more runs than the former in the same number of overs! Yet New Zealand won the contest and that too with Nathan McCullum smashing 20 runs off the final over of the match to pull off an unlikely victory. Sri Lanka made the cardinal mistake of bowling the final over with a spinner in the form of Ranganna Herath with already conditions quite wet.
Surprisingly Sri Lanka decided to bat first after winning the toss despite the rain threat. The hosts after losing an early wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne to Kyle Mills, recovered well to get to 138 for 1 in 23 overs. Rain abruptly ended the first innings but Sri Lanka had the advantage of losing just the one wicket. Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 55* from 72 balls (with 9 fours) and Kumar Sangakkara scored a breezy 71* from 59 balls with 9 fours.
New Zealand had all odds against them after being asked to chase 198 from 23 overs thanks to Duckworth and Lewis. The tourists were on the backfoot at 34 for 3 in the 7th over and later on at 68 for 4. Their innings finally got going with opener Tom Latham finding some support from Wicket Keeper Luke Ronchi who played a cameo of 49 from 26 balls (with 7 fours and a six). Latham went onto score 86 from 68 balls with 12 fours and a six but he along with Ronchi fell in the space of three balls in the 21st over bowled by Kulasekara who took 4 for 34.
New Zealand got to the target thanks to the magic from Nathan McCullum as the offie took Herath for three sixes and a four in the final over.