We panicked in the middle: NZ skipper McCullum
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 scrap 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 scrap 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 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.
Mathews urged his batsmen to show more character in the games ahead.
"We have two more games and we need to tighten up on the batting side but the bowlers and fielders were good," he added.
Man-of-the-match Nathan McCullum, who scored a patient 42-ball 32 when his team was in dire straits, said his brother and senior partner Brendon guided him through their crucial 35-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
"Brendon has been around for a lot longer and he is the senior partner and he was guiding us through with that partnership. It was about batting as long as we could," he said.
Nathan admitted the mental baggage of the loss would have been a lot on them.
"I think it is a massive boost as opposed to if we had lost out today. The mental baggage of the loss would have been a lot. It was not a 140 wicket, but things get difficult when the pressure comes on," he said.