Jimmy Neesham smacked a 13-ball 47 – including 33 runs off an over of Thisara Perera – to help New Zealand finish at 371/7 in the first of their three-match series against Sri Lanka at Mount Maunganui on Thursday.
Neesham, playing his first ODI in over 18 months, arrived at the crease in the last ball of the 47th over. He faced two deliveries off the 48th, bowled by Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga before facing Perera in the penultimate over.
Neesham thrice hit Perera over cow corner, once into the sight screen and once on the top of the stadium’s roof. He had a chance to score over 36 runs in an over – which would have been a world record – as Perera bowled a no-ball after the first four deliveries, off which Neesham scored two. But off Perera’s last ball, Neesham scored just one.
New Zealand scored 15 runs off the last over and 73 off the last five overs.
Earlier, after New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat, Martin Guptill – playing his first ODI in 10 months – scored 138 off 139 balls to help his team post a big target.
New Zealand are on a high after a comprehensive win against Sri Lanka in the second Test earlier in the week. They are also ranked third in the ICC one-day international team rankings, well ahead of Sri Lanka who are eighth.
In the past year, New Zealand won eight of 13 ODIs, primarily against England and Pakistan.
Sri Lanka won only six of 17, including losses to Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
With AFP inputs