Kumar Sangakkara Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will want to start their World Cup campaign in the best manner possible with a win over hosts New ZealandReuters

New Zealand, for the first time starting as one of the heavy favourites, will look to kick off their home World Cup campaign the only way they must – with a win over Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Kiwis have played some outstanding cricket in the past few months in all formats of the game, and they enter this World Cup in brilliant form, which skipper Brendon McCullum knows will mean little if they don't turn that into results at the biggest stage of them all.

"If we get beat then we get beat, but if we play our best game we can walk away pretty satisfied and that will give us our best chance," said McCullum, who saw his side come away with a pretty impressive arm-up win over South Africa a couple of days ago.

"Everyone's excited. It's been a great build-up and all the management and coaching staff have done a brilliant job of getting us to this point and now it's a matter of how we seize the opportunities we get.

"We've been playing some good cricket but we know the slate is now clean."

New Zealand know all about Sri Lanka, having played a full tour with them recently, including a seven-match ODI series, which the home team won fairly comfortably 4-2.

The batting looks pretty good and so does the bowling, and if New Zealand play up to their full potential, they should prove too difficult a hurdle to jump over for Sri Lanka.

"We're comfortable with the team we've decided on, I think all round our team we tick most boxes, and the style of play we've crunched down over time is something that we're comfortable with," added the NZ skipper.

"We've had different personnel come in and out over the last little while, but the game plan is always the same. It's a good sign for a team that they're able to replicate the same game plan even with different people."

Sri Lanka, like the other Asian teams in this World Cup, come with a lot of question marks. The batting continues to rely on the three most experienced men – Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, while the bowling quality goes down a rung or two if Lasith Malinga is not at his best.

Choosing the right XI will be crucial if Sri Lanka are to go a long way at this World Cup, starting with the match against New Zealand on Saturday.

"We don't need to make too many changes, it's the approach that we've got to bring into it," said Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews. "When you lose a few games you tend to be a bit more down and you have to fight hard. It's going to be a fresh series for us.

"Our late middle order haven't produced good results for us in the recent past. We found a way to lose matches against New Zealand, instead of winning them. We had a couple of bad practice matches as well but we're not too concerned because we gave guys the opportunities and we were trying out a few things."

Where to Watch Live

Get the New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Match Report and Scorecard HERE

Get the Live Blog for the two matches HERE

The first match of the ICC World Cup 2015 is set to begin at 11 am local time (3.30 am IST, 10 pm GMT, 5 pm ET) with live coverage in India on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2, Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD 4. Audience in India can also watch the match via live free live streaming online on Starsports.com or via the Star Sports LivePro Option.

Audience in Sri Lanka can watch the match live on SLRC and Star Sports, with the live streaming option on Star Sports.com. Viewers in New Zealand can catch the game live on Sky Sport, while the match can also be live streamed on Sky Go NZ.

Catch the opening game in Australia on Channel Nine and Fox Sports, while viewers can also live stream the game on Cricket Australia Live. Audience in the USA can watch the match live on ESPN or Watch ESPN. Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the action live on Sky Sports 2 or live stream via Sky Go.

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