NZ thrash Sri Lanka in Cup opener

14 February 2015

McCullum got the Blacks Caps off to a great start // Getty Images


McCullum and Anderson guide New Zealand to imposing total before bowlers finished the job

World Cup, Pool A - Match 1


New Zealand have warned their Cricket World Cup rivals of burgeoning self-belief after crushing Sri Lanka by 98 runs in the opening game in Christchurch.

They now want to be a tournament "juggernaut".

The co-hosts unfurled a consummate team performance with bat and ball, racing to 6-331 before dismissing Sri Lanka for 233 with 3.5 overs to spare on Saturday at a cold Hagley Oval.

New Zealand have been rated among the favourites to win the 14-nation tournament and have done little to quell that sentiment.

Captain Brendon McCullum struck 65 off 49 balls at the top and allrounder Corey Anderson closed with 75 off 46 before the co-hosts' four specialist bowlers squeezed the life out of Sri Lanka's chase.

Anderson said McCullum spoke only briefly to his players on the eve of the opener, believing a motivational speech wasn't needed given their run of recent success.

"There was nothing that we needed to hear," Anderson said.

"We had to keep what we've begun as a juggernaut, to keep rolling forward and that's what we did."

McCullum responded to being asked to bat by sending three of his first four balls faced to the fence, ensuring the Black Caps grabbed an initiative they weren't to relinquish.

He warmed up the crowd of 17,228 before opening partner Martin Guptill (49) and Kane Williamson (57) helped lay a platform for some late fireworks.

Anderson was supported by a pair of 29s from Grant Elliott and Luke Ronchi as they piled on 102 off the last 10 overs.

Sri Lanka's hopes nosedived when they lost three key wickets in the space of 12 balls at a pivotal point.

Top-scoring opener Lahiru Thirimanne (65 off 60 balls) was bowled by Trent Boult (2-64) before Mahela Jayawardene snicked a rising ball from miserly spinner Daniel Vettori (2-34) without scoring.

Boult trapped Kumar Sangakkara for 39 and the game then meandered through another 23 overs, with the result never in doubt.

Captain Angelo Mathews cruised to 46 but he was left to reflect on an untidy team performance, particularly in the field, reliving some of the problems exposed last month during their 4-2 series loss to New Zealand.

Pace bowler Lasith Malinga (0-84) struggled for control in his first ODI since undergoing ankle surgery nearly six months ago. He was bludgeoned for 23 runs by McCullum in his fourth over.

Black Caps speedster Adam Milne, selected for the contentious third seamer spot ahead of Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan, took 2-57 while Tim Southee (2-43) was the pick of the pacemen.

Anderson said New Zealand couldn't have asked for a better start against opponents who had beaten them in their past five World Cup meetings.

"Sri Lanka always perform well at tournaments so, to take them down, it's a nice feeling to be ahead of the eight-ball heading into our second game."

New Zealand face Scotland in Dunedin on Tuesday before Sri Lanka play Afghanistan at the same venue five days later.

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dimuth Karunaratne, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekera, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara.

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