McCullum lifts NZ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 28, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 28, 2009

McCullum lifts NZ

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New Zealand's Brendon McCullum raises his bat after hitting the winning runs in their Twenty20 clash against India in Wellington on Friday.Photo: AFP

Brendon McCullum carried New Zealand to a five-wicket win over India with an unbeaten 69 in a gripping Twenty20 cricket international decided on the last ball here Friday.
With the scores tied, McCullum skied the final delivery from Irfan Pathan and scampered through for the winning single.
Rohit Sharma made a desperate attempt to catch the ball running backwards at mid-off but was unable to get a hand to it.
The win gave New Zealand a clean sweep over the Twenty20 world champions with man-of-the-match McCullum batting the full 40 overs in the two games.
He scored an unbeaten 56 in the first match in Christchurch on Wednesday which New Zealand won by seven wickets.
New Zealand went into the final over here needing 12 runs and after McCullum and his brother Nathan picked singles off the first three balls the momentum was with India.
But the patient McCullum had other ideas as he belted consecutive fours off the next two balls and then calmly produced the winning run.
He faced 55 balls and hit eight boundaries and one six, and said the crucial last over was more good luck than good management.
"You've got to try and take it as it comes. You need a little bit of luck and we had luck off that last ball, so thankfully that got us across," he said.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unfazed by the losing the first two games on tour.
"There would have been more joy for us if we'd won," he said.
"The approach was good but we could have played better."
The match followed a similar pattern to the first Twenty20 with the Indian batsmen exploding into action at the start of their innings before they were reigned in by disciplined New Zealand bowling.
Virender Sehwag was his usual flambouyant self, racing to 24 off 11 balls before he fell to Iain O'Brien and India were one for 29 in the fourth over.
Suresh Raina, the most disciplined Indian batsman in the first game with 61 not out, failed to get off the mark this time and with Gautam Gambhir falling for 10, India were quickly three down for 47.
Yuvraj Singh patiently moved to 31 off 26 balls before producing his own fireworks as he raced to 50 with three sixes and a single when he was dismissed by O'Brien.
New Zealand also opened at a brisk pace with McCullum and Jesse Ryder putting 53 on the board for the first wicket before Ryder went for 26 in the fifth over.
Martin Guptill added a rather pedestrian 10 in 19 balls, but with his dismissal the pace accelerated when Ross Taylor came to the wicket.
With three overs remaining and 28 runs to get, New Zealand appeared on course to wrap the game up comfortably.
But Ifran Pathan had other ideas as he bowled Taylor with a yorker for 27 and then had big-hitting Jacob Oram out first ball.
Neil Broom avoided the hattrick but only faced three balls before he was caught by Pathan off Yuvraj Singh.
The Indian fightback ended there as Nathan McCullum partnered his brother through to the finish.
The Indian tour of New Zealand now progress to five one-day internationals to be followed by three Tests.

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