Lasith Malinga Vettori
Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga celebrates the wicket of New Zealand batsman Daniel Vettori in their ICC Champions Trophy 2013 gameReuters

Who said low-scoring matches cannot be entertaining! On a day when just 277 runs were scored in total in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 match in Cardiff, New Zealand and Sri Lanka put on a show filled with drama worthy of the priciest tickets at the West End.

Bowlers ruled from start to finish, with Sri Lanka putting in an abysmal performance with the bat to be bowled out for 138 in 37.5 overs, as Mitchell McClenaghan picked up four wickets.

In reply, New Zealand decided to make the game interesting, as Lasith Malinga (four for 34) showed exactly why he is one of the most feared bowlers in the one-day game, eventually sneaking to a one-wicket win, finishing on 139 for nine in 36.3 overs.

New Zealand, it seemed, had a bit of competition with Sri Lanka, on who could bat worse and make it unnecessarily hard on themselves.

The Kiwi chase was filled with bumps and puddles all along the way, with Luke Ronchi, looking to negotiate the half hour before the break, edging one off Eranga to wicketkeeper Sangakkara early on.

Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson looked really good in the middle, allying for 34 runs from just 5.2 overs, but Williamson's wicket triggered a mini-collapse, which put New Zealand facing a Sri Lankan barrage with their backs pinned to the wall.

Williamson (16, 22b, 1x4) lost the flight of a slow full toss from Malinga and got himself trapped in front of the wickets. The New Zealand batsman unnecessarily wasted a review, with the replays showing the ball was clearly going on to the hit the middle of middle stump.

Ross Taylor fell lbw to Rangana Herath in the next over, with Eranga (two for 45) picking up the wicket of the in-form Guptill (25, 24b, 4x4) in the next ball, leaving the Kiwis struggling on 49 for four.

Brendon McCullum tried to stem the rot with James Franklin (6), but the latter was yet another lbw victim, this time to Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Daniel Vettori (5) did not last too long either, trapped in front by Malinga by a slow yorker as New Zealand stuttered on 80 for six, needing another 59 runs.

Nathan McCullum joined his brother at the crease and the siblings put on a crucial 35-run partnership, and were seemingly taking their side to victory before that man again Malinga castled the Kiwi skipper Brendon with a brilliant slow yorker.

Malinga was near unstoppable now, bowling one yorker after another and Nathan McCullum's key innings of 32 (42b, 3x4) was brought to an end by the yorker machine.

New Zealand still needed another 17 runs with just two wickets in hand, and Tim Southee and Kyle Mills brought the target down to five runs, before the latter got run out in the most bizarre of circumstances.

Southee hit the ball to mid-on and ran for a quick single, with Perera missing the stumps at the non-striker's end, but somehow the ball just went all the way to the striker's end with Mills amazingly finding himself short of the ground - by some distance as well.

Southee negotiated the final terror over from Malinga, before, in the company of McClenaghan, taking his side to victory in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Earlier, it was carnage really for the Sri Lankans as the Kiwis took full control of the match with some incisive bowling.

The first delivery of the innings set the tone for the match, with Brendon McCullum diving full-length like a football goalkeeper to snaffle Kusal Perera at second slip off Kyle Mills (two for 14).

Wicket after wicket tumbled from there as New Zealand put Sri Lanka firmly on the mat. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene - Sri Lanka's experienced trio - needed to fire for the side to have any chance of posting a big total, but unfortunately only one of them put up a score of any note.

Dilshan (20, 18b, 3x4) was done by a delivery that came in a touch from Mitchell McClenaghan, with the Kiwi fast bowler, who would take a further three wickets, rattling the stumps of the opener in the sixth over.

Jayawardene, so out of form in recent times, fell a couple of overs later, trapped in front by Daniel Vettori, who was making his first appearance for New Zealand in ODIs since the 2011 World Cup.

Dinesh Chandimal lasted only four deliveries - caught behind by Ronchi off Kyle Mills - as Sri Lanka teetered on 34 for four.

There were a couple of decent partnerships after that - 31 between Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews and 36 involving the former and Thisara Perera - but nobody hung around enough with Sangakkara as wickets continued tumbling around the classy left-hander.

Mathews gave away his wicket in the 21st over after scoring a painful nine from 34 deliveries, with McClenaghan (four for 43) bowling him round his legs.

Lahiru Thirimanne was at the receiving end of a terrible mix-up, before Sangakkara said enough is enough, smashing part-time off-spinner Kane Williamson for three consecutive fours right after the sixth wicket.

Perera (15, 29b, 2x4) hung around for a while, but inevitably holed out to Vettori at mid-on going for an expansive shot off McClenaghan, before Sangakkara (68, 87b, 8x4) edged one to short third man, giving Nathan McCullum (two for23) his first wicket.

The elder McCullum then picked up his second wicket in the same over, inducing a false stroke from tail-ender Shaminda Eranga with McClenaghan dismissing No.11 Lasith Malinga soon after to end Sri Lanka's misery.