ALL-ROUNDER Russell Arnold gave Sri Lanka a Sixes lifeline yesterday, when his six off the last ball propelled his team to the semi-finals at the Hong Kong Stadium. In one of the most exciting matches of the first day, Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand by four wickets in the Red Group to finish second behind defending champions South Africa. Arnold needed to hit 10 runs off the final two deliveries from New Zealand's Simon Doull to ensure victory for Sri Lanka. Tensions reached fever pitch after the penultimate ball, which the gangly Arnold hit for a boundary. Needing a six in the final ball to win the game, and with the crowd demanding nothing less, Arnold calmly hoisted Doull over the mid-wicket boundary as Sri Lanka narrowly surpassed New Zealand's total of 88 for five. Left-handed Arnold's knock of 31 not out and opener Saman Jayantha's 34 earlier in the innings proved that it is not only Sanath Jayasuria and Aravinda de Silva who like to hit. But the soft-spoken Arnold said the Sri Lankan team were not trying to emulate their more illustrious countrymen, who are currently involved in a home Test series against Zimbabwe. 'We knew that people would be looking to Sri Lanka for something,' he said. 'But we just want to play our own game and enjoy the tournament. 'I was confident of getting the runs. I knew that 10 runs off two balls was possible, so I just went for it.' Sri Lanka's place in the semi-finals was confirmed when South Africa defeated New Zealand by nine runs in the last group match. Arnold, a member of Sri Lanka's A team, was one of his country's top all-rounders in domestic cricket, hitting 1,450 runs and taking more than 40 wickets for First Division side Nondescripts Cricket Club, captained by World Cup hero de Silva. He also plays for the Hatton National Bank in the Mercantile League. Earlier in the match against New Zealand, Arnold's one over yielded just nine runs, and his off-spin brought two wickets. Sri Lanka needed to defeat the Kiwis to have a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals after they suffered a 37-run defeat against the South Africans in the opening match of the competition. The Sri Lankan bowlers had taken a pummelling as South Africa piled up a massive 109 for one wicket in their five overs. In reply, Sri Lanka were never in the hunt and managed only 72 for four wickets with Arnold, batting fifth, only having time to score a single. Arnold is one of only two survivors from last year's Sri Lankan team along with Hemantha Wickramaratne. The pair tasted six-a-side success at international level when Sri Lanka won last year's Singapore Sixes. 'But, obviously, the ultimate for any player is to become part of the Test team and that is my goal,' said Arnold. 'I think the World Cup victory has helped everyone involved in Sri Lankan cricket.'