Brendon McCullum says New Zealand 'got out of jail' against Sri Lanka
Last Updated: 09/06/13 10:34pm
Brendon McCullum: New Zealand edged out Sri Lanka by one wicket
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was a relieved man after his side edged past Sri Lanka by one wicket in their ICC Champions Trophy opener in Cardiff.
The Black Caps seemed in complete control of the Group A clash having skittled out the Sri Lankans for just 138 inside 38 overs - but some determined bowling from Angelo Mathews' men and some average batting ensured a thrilling finish.
After Kyle Mills had been run out in bizarre circumstances, it was left to last pair Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan to sneak home - the 139-9 coming off 36.3 overs.
McCullum said: "You expect to chase 139 every day of the week but then you see the ball turning, stopping and swinging and you know they have got Malinga and (Rangana) Herath who are two excellent bowlers on surfaces like that.
"You then know 130-odd is a bigger total than it would probably suggest but you could say we got out of jail.
"There was composure, and there was a lack of composure at times, but that is because the guys lower down the order are not recognised batsmen.
"But we have guys down there who are experienced players who have a good ability with the bat who are reasonably calm in pressure situations. I thought Nathan's innings was brilliant, he struck the ball as well as anyone out there, and obviously Tim played a hand getting us over the line."
Mathews, meanwhile, bemoaned an umpiring decision that allowed Southee to continue when Lasith Malinga appeared to strike him on the toe in front of middle stump.
The Sri Lankan captain said: "The Southee decision was very crucial and it was pretty obvious that he was out. The luck swings both ways and it was one of those days when the decisions went against us.
"It changed the whole scenario of the game, it would have been all over (if he had gone)."
To add salt in the wounds, Sri Lanka duo Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene were later officially reprimanded for excessive appealing.