Nuwan Kulasekara found the perfect lines and lengths for the slow and low track that the USA has dished out, and ripped the heart out of New Zealand’s batting with three wickets in his first over. Although Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum, the only New Zealanders to reach double figures, avoided the ignominy of the lowest total in Twenty20 internationals, 81 was never going to test Sri Lanka even on this pitch.
The win was set up by Kulasekara’s first two overs, three wickets in the first and no runs in the second. He made the necessary adjustments from the first match: everything was stump to stump, slightly short of a length, and offcutters were bowled aplenty. That the innings started with Kumar Sangakkara standing up to the stumps, with no slip in sight, said a lot about the pitch. It didn’t help New Zealand that their top-order batsmen were looking to play around their front pad, and the bowlers were hardly missing.