The ICC World Twenty20 kicked off in the Caribbean with a final-over thriller as New Zealand dug deep to defeat Sri Lanka by two wickets in Guyana.
Nathan McCullum was the hero with the bat for the Kiwis, belting a four and a six off of Lasith Malinga to see his side home with just a delivery to spare.
Chasing 136 on a sluggish pitch at Providence Stadium, the Black Caps seemed to be outsiders when they needed 20 off the last 12 balls.
However McCullum held his nerve at the death, smearing a four through backward square leg and, after seeing his skipper Daniel Vettori run out for 17, striking a maximum straight down the ground to conclude matters.
The all-rounder's efforts overshadowed a fine innings of 81 from Mahela Jayawardene - easily the highest score in the Group B contest.
The former Sri Lanka skipper justified his promotion to the top of the order with a well-paced 51-ball knock that included eight fours and two sixes.
Few of his team-mates managed to come to grips with the nature of the surface, though. Tillakaratne Dilshan laboured to three off 19 deliveries before being bowled attempting to heave Jacob Oram into the stands.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara perished in similar fashion off the bowling of Scott Styris to leave his side 44-2 during the ninth over.
Debutant Dinesh Chandimal helped get the innings back on course, making 29 in a third-wicket stand of 59 before holing out off of Nathan McCullum, who had opened the bowling for New Zealand.
Jayawardene's one-man effort eventually came to an end at the start of the 19th over and Shane Bond kept things in check at the death with the wickets of Chamara Kapugedara (11) and the dangerous Angelo Mathews (three) with the last two deliveries of the innings.
However the score of 135 for six still left the Kiwis with plenty to do - a task that became even harder when big-hitting opener Brendon McClullum fell before a run was on the board.
Jesse Ryder, who made 42 off 27, and Martin Guptill (19) put on 62 for the second wicket before both perished in the space of eight balls.
Sri Lanka's spinners then turned the screw, Muttiah Muralitharan tempting Ross Taylor into a slog-sweep that only found Mathews at deep mid-wicket, while Ajantha Mendis bowled Styris for 17.
Oram did put the game back in the balance with back-to-back sixes off Mendis, the second of which carried nicely on the wind over long-on despite being hit with just one hand on the bat.
But it appeared the Kiwis would fall short when Oram was cleaned up by Chanaka Welegedara and then Gareth Hopkins was run out pushing for two from the very next ball.
However Nathan McCullum had other ideas, his pair of lusty blows securing his side a superb win and giving the tournament just the start it wanted, as it bids to bury the disappointing memory of the 2007 World Cup in the same region.