Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliot put on the highest sixth wicket-partnership in One-Day Internationals (ODI) to help new Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 108 runs in the fifth ODI of the seven-match series at Dunedin on Friday. The unbeaten 268-run stand helped New Zealand recover from 93 for five to 360, without losing any wicket. It was the second highest partnership by a New Zealand pair after James Marshall and Brendon McCullum’s 274 against Ireland.
The New Zealanders were in trouble in the first innings before Ronchi came to the rescue and ripped up the record books in emphatic fashion. The 33-year-old, who got New Zealand home three days ago in Nelson with a crucial 32 from 15 balls, was the key man again when he blasted an incredible maiden ODI century. The wicketkeeper-batsman joined Elliott at the crease when the home side were reeling at 93 for five, but the pair notched up a world-record 267-run sixth wicket partnership to guide their team to an intimidating 360 for five.
Coming into bat at number seven, with half the side back in the pavilion with the score still in the two-figure mark, Ronchi blazed his way to a 90-ball 170. he struck nine sixes and 14 boundaries, meteing out special treatment to Suranga Lakmal who went for 93 runs off his 10 overs. Grant Elliot, whose selection in New Zealand’s World Cup squad drew sharp criticism too put on a brilliant 96-ball 104. He later went on to pick two crucial wickets as New Zealand bowlers bundled out the visitors for 252. Tillakaratne Dilshan’s century was the only good new for Sri Lanka on a day when they were completely outplayed by the hosts.
In reply, Sri Lanka, led by Tillakaratne Dilshan (116 off 106 balls) and skipper Lahiru Thirimanne 46, were looking to complete the highest ever chase on New Zealand soil and they began in buoyant mood. But as soon as Dilshan departed, the Sri Lankans fell apart and the visitors were bowled out for 252 runs. New Zealand now hold a 3-1 lead in the ANZ International Series with two matches remaining. (with inputs from IANS)
Brief scores: New Zealand 360 for 5 in 50 overs (Luke Ronchi 170*; Lahiru Thirimanne 2 for 36) won over Sri Lanka 252 in 43.4 overs ( Tillakaratne Dilshan 116; Tim Southee 4 for 44) by 108 runs.