The dominant form of New Zealand in the ODIs continued as they beat Sri Lanka by 98 runs in the ICC World Cup 2015 opener. After invited to bat first, Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill gave the Kiwis a flying start and stitched 111 runs for the first wicket. In-form Kane Williamson provided the team a solidity in the middle overs, whereas, late surge by Corey Anderson helped the Black Caps to put up a mammoth total of 331 runs.
Sri Lankan openers gave them a steady start but after the fall off their first wicket they kept losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually lost the match.
Over 46.1 || Score 233/10
With the fall of Herath's wicket, Sri Lanka lost the first match of the ICC World Cup 2015 by 98 runs to New Zealand. Kiwis outplayed the Lankans in each department and proved that they are indeed the top contenders, this time around, to lift the coveted trophy.
HMRKB Herath c Milne b Anderson 13 (19b)
Over 42 || Score 218/9
Finally Tim Southee gets his first wicket of the match as Angelo Mathews perishes after fighting for some time in the middle. Trying to hit the speedster out of the park, the right-hander goes areal but couldn't connect it well as Vettori takes a good catch in the end. Double bonanza for Southee as he also gets the better of new batsman Lasith Malinga after a gap of two balls. Now it's just a mater of time for NZ to pick up the final wicket and seal the match.
SL Malinga c Ronchi b Southee 0 (1b)
AD Mathews c Vettori b Southee 46 (52b)
Sri Lanka Innings
Over 40 || Score 209/7
Kulasekara Out! Corey Anderson, who batted well in the match, also picks up a wicket. Kulasekara tries to hit the bowler out of the park but top edges it and gives a simple catch to deep extra cover fielder. Now it's safe to that SL are on the verge of losing their opening match of the ICC World Cup 2015. Meanwhile, SL have crossed the 200-run mark.
KMDN Kulasekara c Elliott b Anderson 10 (21b)
Over 35 || Score 179/6
Asking rate is soaring with every over for SL, and it seems as if they have thrown in the towel. They still required 153 runs in 15 overs, and have just four wickets in hand. NZ need the wicket of skipper Angelo Mathews to put all the Lankan hopes to rest. Thus far Black Caps have dominated the game.
Over 32 || Score 168/6
Milne picks up his first wicket as Karunaratne walks back towards the pavilion. Off the last ball gets the better of new man Mendis as well. From here on chances of SL to win this contest have become real bleak. NZ are right on top of the game.
BMAJ Mendis c Ronchi b Milne 4 (4b)
FDM Karunaratne b Milne 14 (21b)
Over 31 || Score 161/4
If Sri Lanka want to give any kind of fight to the home team then they need their skipper, Angelo Mathews, to play till the very end, otherwise this match is over for them.
Over 28 || Score 150/4
Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews are in middle after the fall of two quick wickets. Sri Lanka are on the back-foot. However, Boult and Vettori are still not ready to give any kind of breathing space to the batsmen. Their tight line and length are making life even difficult for the Lankans.
Over 24 || Score 133/4
Double blow for Sri Lanka as both their premier batsmen -- Sangakkara and Jayawardene -- are back in the hut within two overs. If Vettori gets the better of Jayawardene then Sangakkara misses the line of the ball completely and walks back to the pavilion off.
KC Sangakkara lbw b Boult 39 (38b)
DPMD Jayawardene c Ronchi b Vettori 0 (4b)
Over 22 || Score 124/2
Boult strikes, Thirimanne Out! Boult bowls an outstanding delivery to clean bowled the southpaw. With the wicket of Thirimanne, NZ are right on top of the game.
HDRL Thirimanne b Boult 65 (60b)
Over 20 || Score 112/1
Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne are playing sensible cricket in the middle as they are dealing in singles and doubles and at the same time hitting boundaries whenever getting loose deliveries. This partnership is quite crucial for Sri Lanka.
Over 16 || Score 86/1
Milne and Vettori are bowling back-to-back tight overs. In the last three overs SL managed to score nineteen runs. Run-rate and wickets both are vital for SL as they are chasing an imposing total of 331.
Over 13 || Score 67/1
Daniel Vettori strikes! Veteran spinner outfoxes Dilshan with a flight as the opener gives back an easy catch to the bowler. It's a big blow for Sri Lanka. Kumar Sangakkara is the new man in.
TM Dilshan c & b Vettori 24 (41b)
Over 12 || Score 64/0
Milne with his second over. Thirimanne once again plays two expensive or rather innovative shots to collect two more boundaries. The southpaw is now looking dangerous with every passing over. NZ concede 12 runs in the over.
Over 11 || Score 52/0
Double bowling change as Daniel Vettori has also been introduced. An experienced campaigner gets the rhythm early on, which is not a good sign for Sri Lanka, who are already facing an imposing total. Meanwhile, SL cross the 50-run mark.
Over 10 || Score 46/0
Adam Milne has been introduced as the first bowling change. And the medium pacer bowls a decent first over as he gives mere four runs. A decent start by the Lankan openers.
Over 9 || Score 42/0
NZ bowlers are still trying hard to get their first breakthrough. Meanwhile, Thirimanne plays a superb shot towards point region to collect his fifth boundary. But that's the only good shot being played in the over.
Over 8 || Score 37/0
Boult with his fourth over. Now the Sri Lankan openers are trying to create some room for themselves as NZ bowlers are too disciplined. Thirimanne collects two consecutive boundaries off fourth and fifth ball to break the shackles. NZ concede eight runs in the over.
Over 7 || Score 29/0
Southee set to bowl his fourth over. Off the third ball, Dilshan pulls the short ball towards square leg for a boundary. Five runs from the over. But NZ are still looking for their first breakthrough.
Over 6 || Score 24/0
Both the strike bowlers are not offering any room for the batsmen to free their arms. They are pitching the ball on right areas and getting decent bounce form the wicket. Now the frustration is quite visible on the shots batsmen are trying to play.
Over 4 || Score 15/0
Boult to bowl the over. Another tight over by the left-arm seamer as he gives mere two runs. Sri Lankan openers too are looking in no hurry, as they must be trying to settle down first before going for some expensive shots.
Over 3 || Score 13/0
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne are opening the innings for Sri Lanka, whereas, Tim Southee and Trent Boult are opening the bowling for Kiwis. A disciplined start by the bowlers.
After being invited to bat first, NZ got off to a flying start as both the openers stitched 111 runs in 16 overs for the first wicket. Then the in-form Kane Williamson scored yet another half-century before a whirlwind knock (75 off 46) by Corey Anderson, which helped NZ to put up an imposing total of 331 runs in front of Sri Lanka.
New Zealand Innings
Over 50 || Score 331/5
Kulasekara to bowl the last over of the innings. First ball, slow bouncer and Anderson slaps it for a boundary towards fine leg. Off the fourth ball, Ronchi finds a gap at extra covers to collect the second boundary of the over. Last ball, Anderson Out! The southpaw goes for a big shot but ends up giving a catch to cover fielder inside the circle. Kulasekara concedes 12 runs in the last over.
CJ Anderson c Lakmal b Kulasekara 75 (46b)
Over 49 || Score 319/5
Malinga is bowling the penultimate over of the NZ innings. Off the fourth ball, Corey comes across the wicket to flick the ball towards fine leg region for a boundary. Ten runs from the over.
Over 48 || Score 309/5
Kulasekara with his seventh over. Off the second and third ball Corey collects a boundary and six respectively. And with that the big hitter of the cricket ball has completed his fifty as well. Fourth ball, short one, pulls it for a single. 14 runs from the over. And with that NZ crossed the 300-run mark.
Over 47 || Score 294/5
Malinga to bowl. It can be considered as a decent over as NZ batsmen manage to collect just seven runs from it.
Over 46 || Score 287/5
Lakmal set to bowl his final over. Anderson dispatches the first two deliveries for fours. Off the fourth ball comes another boundary, this time from the bat of Ronchi. Expensive over by Lakmal as he concedes 17 from it.
Over 45 || Score 270/5
Malinga with his 8th over. Luke Ronchi is the new man in after the fall of NZ's fifth wicket. And he smashes two boundaries off the over as NZ collect ten runs from it.
Over 44 || Score 260/5
Lakmal to bowl. Off the third ball Corey finds a gap towards cover region to collect his third boundary. Lakmal picks up his second wicket, Elliot Out! The right hander pulls the ball straight into the hands of Thirumanne, patrolling the deep mid-wicket boundary. Eight runs from the over.
GD Elliott c Thirimanne b Lakmal 29 (34b)
Over 43 || Score 252/4
Kulasekara is back into the attack. He hasn't done anything noteworthy thus far in the match. First ball, Elliott comes down the wicket and slaps the bowler for boundary towards cover. Another good over for NZ as ten runs came in it. With that NZ crossed the 250-run mark.
Over 42 || Score 242/4
Malinga to bowl. The pacer is using all the tricks to keep the batsmen quiet. He is changing his pace, line and length and mixing it well. Excellent over by the spearhead of SL bowling attack. Four runs come from it.
Over 41 || Score 238/4
Lakmal to bowl his eighth over. After decent first four deliveries, Corey smashes the ball towards extra-cover region for a boundary. And with that NZ collect nine from the over.
Over 40 || Score 229/4
12 runs came in the last two overs. And with that one can say that SL bowled impressively in the Batting Powerplay as they gave just 33 runs.
Over 38 || Score 217/4
Malinga to bowl his fifth over. The slinger has variations up his sleeves but in trying to do something extra he is struggling with his line. He bowls three wide balls to leak seven runs in the over.
Over 37 || Score 210/4
Batting Powerplay has been taken immediately after the end of 35th over. Elliott picks up a boundary off the fourth ball before Corey smashes Dilshan out of the park off the last to collect 13 runs from it. And with that NZ cross the 200-run mark.
Over 35 || Score 196/4
Dilshan to bowl. A tight over by the off-spinner as mere three came from it. Two new batsmen -- Grant Elliott and Corey Anderson -- are in the middle after NZ lost two wickets in quick successions.
Over 34 || Score 193/4
Williamson OUT! Mendis gives SL their third breakthrough. Karunaratne takes an outstanding catch to dismiss the in-form and dangerous looking Kane. Double blow for NZ as Mendis got the better of Taylor as well off the next ball. Well flighted delivery by the leggie, beats the batsman completely in the air and Sanga takes the bales off, as Taylor's backfoot goes in the air. SL are back in the game.
KS Williamson c Karunaratne b Mendis 57 (65b)
KS Williamson c Karunaratne b Mendis 57 (65b)
Over 32 || Score 183/2
Kulasekara has been brought back into the attack. Williamson has started picking up boundaries. He hits the bowler for six over long off before collecting a boundary. And then collects a single off the fifth ball to complete his fifty. What a form he has been in.
Over 31 || Score 170/2
Dilshan to bowl. The offie bowls a quick tight over as he gives just four runs.
Over 30 || Score 166/2
Mathews is back into the attack. Williamson is not missing any chance to pick up a boundary. He pulls the fourth ball towards cow corner to collect his third boundary. Good over for NZ as eight runs come from it.
Over 29 || Score 158/2
Kulasekara has been brought back into the attack. Williamson has the luck on his side. Off the fifth ball the short cover fielder dropped a tough chance to dismiss the in form Kiwi. Five runs from the over.
Over 28 || Score 153/2
In last three overs NZ managed to add just seven runs to their total. In the 27th over the Black Caps crossed the 150-run mark. At the moment, Williamson is playing on 25, whereas, Ross Taylor is unbeaten on seven.
Over 25 || Score 145/2
Lakmal comes up with another good over as he gives mere three runs. He has really pulled things back for SL.
Over 24 || Score 142/2
Herath to continue. Off the fourth ball Williamson plays a lofted sweep to hit the bowler towards cow corner for a boundary. Five runs from the over.
Over 23 || Score 137/2
Lakmal to bowl his fourth over. Second breakthrough for SL, Guptill out! Trying to guide the ball towards third man, Guptill ends up giving a catch to wicketkeeper Sangakkara, who dives on his right to dismiss the opener. Ross Taylor is the new man in.
MJ Guptill c Sangakkara b Lakmal 49 (62b)
Over 22 || Score 132/1
Pressure is building up on the batsmen as both the bowlers -- Mendis and Lakmal -- are not giving easy runs. Four runs from the over.
Over 21 || Score 128/1
Lakmal to bowl. Tight over by the medium pacer. He is giving good company to premier spinner Herath. SL need few more tight overs to get the run-rate down to five.
Over 20 || Score 127/1
Herath is bowling well at the moment. In fact after picking up the first wicket, in the form of dangerous McCullum, he is looking dangerous. Five runs from the over.
Over 19 || Score 122/1
Lakmal to bowl the over. Williamson is living dangerously at the moment. Off the fifth ball he collects his first boundary from an inside edge. An expensive over as eight runs come from it.
Over 18 || Score 114/1
Herath to bowl. Another good over by the wily left-arm spinner as he concedes mere two runs.
Over 17 || Score 112/1
Medium pacer Suranga Lakmal is set to bowl his first over. Kane Williamson is the new man in after the fall of first NZ wicket. Dropped! Singakkara drops a catch behind the wicket off the first ball as Williamson edges it to the keeper. It might cost SL dearly as Williamson is in red hot form.
Over 16 || Score 111/1
Herath to bowl the over. First breakthrough for SL, Brendon McCullum Out! Trying to launch the bowler for a six over, McCullum comes down the ground but couldn't connect it well as Mendis takes a good catch at long off boundary.
BB McCullum c Mendis b Herath 65 (49b)
Over 15 || Score 110/0
Another bowling change as Tillakaratne Dilshan has been given the ball. Decent first over by the offie as he gives six runs in his opening over.
Over 14 || Score 104/0
100 up for NZ. What a start by the NZ openers. They couldn't have ask for anything better than this. SL concede seven from the over.
Over 13 || Score 97/0
Mathews to bowl the over. Both the openers are not missing out any chance to collect a boundary. In the 13th over, first Guptill collects a boundary off the second ball and then off the fifth, McCullum smashes his tenth boundary. Ten runs from the over.
Over 12 || Score 87/0
Herath to bowl the over. Off the fourth ball McCullum collects two to complete his fifty. The skipper is leading from the front. He used just 35 balls to reach the mark, lacked with eight boundaries and a six.
Over 11 || Score 78/0
Mathews is ready to bowl his third over. Another good over for SL as the skipper gave just one run. SL need more of these overs to put some pressure on the Kiwis.
Over 10 || Score 77/0
Spinner Rangana Herath has been introduced into the attack for the first time. Tight first over by the left arm spinner as he concedes mere three in it. So after ten overs, one can say that it's a flying start by NZ.
Over 9 || Score 74/0
Mathews to bowl the over. McCullum is unstoppable at the moment. The opener collects his eighth boundary off the fourth ball. Six runs conceded from the over.
Over 8 || Score 68/0
McCullum is on fire. He has picked the spearhead Malinga this time. McCullum collects 23 runs by smashing the slinger all over the park, with the help of three boundaries and a six. And with that NZ crossed the fifty-run mark.
Over 7 || Score 45/0
First bowling change. Skipper Angelo Mathews himself has come as the first change. Tight over by right-arm medium pacer as he conceded mere one run.
Over 6 || Score 38/0
SL bowlers are leaking runs. They have to stop the run flow to put the openers under some kind of pressure. Six runs from Malinga's third over of the match.
Over 5 || Score 38/0
Guptill too is looking solid in the middle. He collects back-to-back boundaries in the third and fourth balls off Kulasekara. At the moment both the strike bowlers are looking ordinary. NZ collect 13 runs from the over.
Over 4 || Score 25/0
Malinga is not looking dangerous at all. Both the openers are playing him without much of a difficulty. Five runs from the over. SL need a breakthrough here.
Over 3 || Score 20/0
Kulasekara is bowling at a tight line but McCullum, who is looking in red hot form, plays another smart shot, off the fifth ball. this time towards third man area to collect another boundary. NZ got off to a good start. SL conceded five runs in the over.
Over 2 || Score 15/0
Premier bowler of Sri Lankan, Lasith Malinga, is bowling from the other end. Off the fifth ball McCullum collects his second boundary of the match by playing it once again through covers. Nine runs come from the over.
Over 1 || Score 6/0
First two balls are right in the money by Kulasekera. Third delivery is a wide. So first run of the World Cup 2015 has come from extras. Off the last ball skipper McCullum smashes the ball over covers region to collect the first boundary of the match.
Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum are opening the innings for the home side, as Nuwan Kulasekera has the new ball in hand.
Toss: Sri Lanka have won the toss and will bowl first.
New Zealand are in red hot form and looking confident ahead of their opening World Cup match against Sri Lanka. According to cricket pundits, this time around, the Black Caps are the serious contenders to lift the coveted trophy.
Being the co-hosts of the marquee event they will get the home advantage as well. The Black Caps are looking robust in all three departments –Batting, bowling and fielding. A well balanced side, New Zealand, have most of their players in form, which is good sign going into the World Cup.
Against Sri Lanka they will be more confident as they have recently beat them 4-2 in a warm up series.
Kane Williamson and skipper Brendon Taylor would be their key batsmen at the top order, whereas, they will expect Cory Anderson and Ross Taylor to play crucial knocks as well for the team.
If they have an impressive pace battery in Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Kyle Mills, then, they also have the services of Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum, who can also play a crucial role with the ball.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka are a formidable side as well. They have a good mix of experience and youth. With Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan at his disposal, Angelo Mathews-led side has a solid batting line-up.
But a lot depends on the performance of Lasith Malinga, who provides the X-factor and can be a difference maker between both the sides. Malinga would not only get assistance from Thisara Perara and Nuwan Kulasekara but also from crafty spinners like Rangana Herath and Jeevan Mendis.
However, the hosts are certainly the favourites going into the match but one can’t deny the fact that Sri Lanka have a good track record when it comes to the quadrennial event.