New Zealand showed just why there are seen as one of the favourites to clinch the World Cup title, with an authoritative swatting away of Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 opener in Christchurch.
Put into bat by Sri Lanka – how Angelo Mathews will be regretting that now – New Zealand got off to their customary blazing start via Brendon he-just-hits-them-and hits-them McCullum, before an all-round batting effort, with a little help from a blitzkrieg from Corey Anderson, gave the home team a massive 331/6 in 50 overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka got off to a decent start, but once those openers – Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan -- fell, it was all downhill for the Asian side as they tumbled to 233 all out in 46.1 overs to hand New Zealand a massive 98-run win.
Once New Zealand posted that massive score, the pressure was right on the Sri Lanka batsmen, and they got off to a decent start, with Thirimanne (65, 60b, 8x4) looking in outstanding touch on a brilliant wicket to bat on.
However, the New Zealand bowlers would have known it was just about staying patient and the wickets would come, and Dilshan was the first to go, giving some caught and bowled catching practice to Daniel Vettori in the 13th over.
Thirimanne continued his merry way, with Kumar Sangakkara also looking outstanding at the other end, and also going past Ricky Ponting to become the second highest run scorer in ODI cricket. However, the hopes of a victory would not last too long as Thirimanne fell, to the excellent Trent Boult, and then Mahela Jayawardene and then Sangakkara.
Vettori (10-0-34-2) and Boult (10-0-64-2) did that major damage, and once the top four fell, even Angelo Mathews (46, 52, 5x4) could do little as New Zealand cantered home.
Earlier, the Kiwis showed their batting prowess, putting on a massive score of 331 despite no batsman reaching close to a hundred.
McCullum (65, 49b, 10x4, 1x6) and Martin Guptill (49, 62b, 5x4) got the Black Caps off to a splendid start, putting on 111 in nearly 16 overs, which basically set the tone for the rest of the innings.
Kane Williamson (57, 65b, 5x4, 1x6) continued his terrific form with a half-century of his own, and even if Ross Taylor failed to make too much of an impression, Anderson ensured there would be no latter overs crumble with a cracker of 46-ball 75 (8x4, 2x6).
That innings from Anderson, in the company of the excellent Luke Ronchi (29 n.o., 19b, 4x4), broke Sri Lanka's back, and they could not make much of a fist of the chase.
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