Cardiff: New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum admitted they did panic during the tense chase against Sri Lanka but always had the confidence that his side would scrape through in a low-scoring Champions Trophy thriller here on Sunday.
"Sri Lanka are always a dangerous side and we panicked a bit in the middle. It is very important to scrape through, we have enough experience to deal with situations like this, although it did get tough towards the end," said McCullum at the post-match presentation ceremony.
New Zealand pulled off a nail-biting one-wicket victory in a Group A match to register their first win over Sri Lanka in four years. Chasing 139 to win, New Zealand huffed and puffed their way to victory with 13.3 overs to spare at Sophia Gardens.
McCullum said the ball had started stopping a bit during their run chase. "They have excellent bowlers in the ranks and the ball stopped a bit in the second innings. It was not coming on to the bat nicely but I thought we played well for the majority of the game," he said.
McCullum said he was incredibly nervous at one stage but, "I am happy with the result as our bowlers were the reason that we won today." Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said his team was 30-40 runs short of what would have been a match-winning total in their tournament opener.
"We probably needed 30-40 more runs. This was not the 200-run wicket that we originally thought, but we need to toughen up a bit. The wicket dried up a little during the game," Mathews said.
Mathews defended his decision of not going in with an extra spinner as Rangana Herath was the only specialist tweaker in the playing XI. "I had confidence in my bowlers, we didn't need more spinners. Tillakaratne Dilshan bowled very well as part-timer and Lasith Malinga almost won it for us," he said.