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New Zealand draw first blood

New Zealand began their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign in style with a crushing 98-run victory over Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Saturday.

 

In the Pool ‘A’ opener the Black Caps rode on a powerpacked knock from Corey Anderson after their top order provided the impetus reaching a mammoth 331-6 in 50 overs. Sri Lanka, who were crushed by the Kiwis in their six-match ODI series in the run-up to the World Cup, continued their poor form and were bundled out for 233 all out in 46.1 overs.

 

Openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum gave New Zealand a century opening stand, while Kane Williamson maitained is fine form with the bat with a half century allowing Anderson to cut loose in the closing stages with an entertaining 46-ball knock off 75.

 

Sri Lanka did get a modest start in chase of a huge total when Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakartne Dilshan (24) opened with a 67-run stand. The World Twenty20 champions were still in the game with their consistent southpaw Kumar Sangakkara playing fluently.

 

After the dismissal of Dilshan, Sangakkara reached a 1000-run milestone in World Cup and shared 67 with Thirimane but three wickets in a space of six runs jolted the Sri Lankan chase.

 

Thirimane was first to go for 65 off 60 hitting eight boundaries and that followed by a two-ball duck of veteran Mahela Jaywardene, removed by Kiwi veteran Daniel Vettori. Four runs later, Sangakkara was trapped leg before by Trent Boult ending his 38-ball innings of 39. Sangakkara hit five boundaries.

 

Dimuth Karunaratne (14) and skipper Angelo Matthews kept the Lankans in the game but after running out of partners, the Sri Lankan captain also departed after a 52-ball 46 with five boundaries. In a collective New Zealand bowling effort, Tim Southee, Boult, Milne, Vettori and Corey Anderson picked up two wickets each.

 

Earlier, McCullum played with his usual aggression smashing 65 off 49 clobbering 10 boundaries and a six before departing as first New Zealand wicket off Rangana Herath. Guptill fell just one short of a half century with his innings including five hits to the fence.

 

Williamson stepped in anad added 57 with Ross Taylor (14) as New Zealand closed in on 200-run mark inside 35 overs. However, Jeevan Mendis removed both batsmen in successive balls in the only respite for Sri Lanka in the match. Williamson made 57 off 65 hitting a six and five fours.

 

But Anderson began from where McCullum had left. The left hander added 65 for the fifth wicket with Grant Eliott (29) and 73 for the sixth Luke Ronchi. Anderson’s whirlwind knock included eight boundaries and two sixes. Ronchi played a 19-ball cameo off 29 with four fours.

 

Mendis took 2-5 from two overs, while Suranga Lakmal was Sri Lanka’s only successful frontline bowler picking up 2-62 from 10. Lasith Malinga was smashed for 84 in his 10 overs.   

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