MATCH 1: New Zealand got the ICC World Cup 2015 underway with a fine all-round performance against Sri Lanka to firmly state their credentials as title contenders.
The 98-run victory was the Black Caps first win over Sri Lanka in five World Cup matches and it was an impressive start to a home campaign that is not without pressure or expectation.
“Today we executed our blueprint with the bat, it was a great performance,” said New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum. “The pitch was an outstanding cricket wicket and we were able to lay a good foundation.
“A really good all round performance and good to beat a strong Sri Lankan side. The bowlers were really good and came back well, searching for wickets throughout”
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Matthews won the toss and opted to bowl in conditions that offered the potential for poor weather later in the game, but his bowlers failed to deliver the accuracy he desired.
McCullum was in feisty form. In Lasith Malinga’s fourth over he hit 4 fours and a six as he, and Martin Guptill, recorded a century opening partnership inside 14 overs.
McCullum’s 65 from 49 balls had rested Kiwi nerves, but he fell when he launched Rangana Herath into the clutched of Jeevan Mendis at long-off.
Guptill (49) edged Suranga Lakmal to a diving Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps, but the foundation for a formidable total had been set.
Grant Elliott (29 from 34) and Ross Taylor (14 from 28) were not their fluent best, but Kane Williamson’s 16th ODI half century maintained momentum and man-of-the-match Corey Anderson, who brought up his fifty with a straight six, was dominant.
Anderson’s offensive was ended on the last ball of the innings, but not before his 75 from 46 balls had seen New Zealand to a total of 331 for 6.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (24) looked completely out of form as he attempted to lead the charge, although he watched his opening partner, Lahiru Thirimanne find scoring easier.
Dilshan lobbed a simple return catch to Daniel Vettori. Thirimanne, whose 65 from 60 balls included 8 fluent fours, was yorked by Trent Boult and the score became 124 for two after 22 overs.
Mahela Jayawardena nicked Vettori behind without troubling the scorers and Sangakkara was trapped in front by Boult as Sri Lanka had lost three wickets for 5 runs in 12 balls. The wheels had come off the chase.
Adam Milne dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne and Mendis in the 32nd over, and only Mathews offered any further resistance. He made 46, but could not fashion a victory for his team, or knock the Kiwis off their very impressive perch.
“We knew it was going to be a good wicket, we bowled well in the middle but not at either ends,” said Matthews. “We did well to pull them back but it was still 30-40 runs too many. We lost our way with the bat in the middle and no one in the top four got a biggy”
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