4th ODI, Cardiff

New Zealand v Sri Lanka

At Cardiff, June 9. New Zealand won by one wicket. Toss: Sri Lanka.
But for one sliver of luck, it might have been Sri Lanka who earned victory from this low-scoring thriller. Malinga had already removed Williamson and Vettori when he returned to account for the McCullum brothers in three balls and reduce New Zealand to 122 for eight, with 17 still needed. He then struck Southee on the boot with yet another lightning-bolt yorker, only for Bruce Oxenford to rule that the ball had ricocheted to the third-man boundary via the bat; crucially, Sri Lanka had already wasted their review. New Zealand's tailenders somehow survived the rest of that over, as well as Malinga's tenth. But in between, they lost Mills to a freakish direct hit from Tissara Perera, coming round from mid-on. Aiming to throw down the non-striker's stumps and run out Southee, Perera missed - then watched the ball hit the stumps at the other end instead, with an unsuspecting Mills short of his ground. But last pair Southee and McClenaghan scrambled the five New Zealand required, concluding with a leg-side wide from Dilshan, off which they also stole the winning run. The match had begun dramatically, too: off the first ball, Mills found Kushal Perera's edge, and Brendon McCullum clung on in the slip cordon, leaping like a goalkeeper high to his left. McClenaghan then took four wickets, and Vettori picked up one in his first one-day international over after more than two years - Jayawardene lbw, the same batsman and method of dismissal as his previous 50-over wicket, in the 2011 World Cup semi-final. Sangakkara's 68 just about gave his team something to defend, and when New Zealand lost three wickets in eight balls to lurch to 49 for our, it was game on. Vettori was unlucky to be adjudged leg-before to a ball he had edged, but Williamson had used up New Zealand's review, incorrectly challenging his own lbw decision. Then came Malinga, for one final twist.
Man of the Match: N. L. McCullum. Attendance: 4,834.

© John Wisden & Co.