Openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro smashed blistering half-centuries as New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in their opening match of the 2019 ICC World Cup clash at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday.
After being asked to bat first, Sri Lanka failed to counter New Zealand's bowling attack and were eventually bundled out for 136 in 29.2 over. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was the highest scorer for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten knock of 52.
Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson finished with three wickets each while Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner all chipped in with a wicket each.
In reply, Guptill (unbeaten at 73) and Munro (unbeaten at 58) helped New Zealand cross the mark in just 16.1 overs.
Here are the highlights:
# New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets! New Zealand 137/0 (16.1 overs)
# Malinga bowled a quite expensive 16th over, conceding 16 runs to New Zealand. The Kane Williamson-led side now need just one run from 34 overs. New Zealand 136/0 (16 overs)
# 11 runs off the last over. New Zealand now need 17 runs from 35 overs. New Zealand 120/0 (15 overs)
# After Guptill completed his fifty, Munro also brought up his half-century off just 41 balls. He achieved the feat by smashing the third delivery of the 14th over down to deep midwicket for four runs. New Zealand 109/0 (14 overs)
# Guptill has brought up his half-century off just 39 balls. He achieved the feat by notching six runs off the last delivery of the 13th over. New Zealand 101/0 (13 overs)
# An expensive over from Thisara Perera as he conceded nine runs to New Zealand, including a boundary. Guptill and Munro are slowly and steadily approaching their half centuries. New Zealand 91/0 (12 overs)
# Guptill and Munro continue to stand strong at the crease at their respective scores of 39 and 41.The duo has reduced the chase to 55 runs from 39 overs. New Zealand 82/0 (11 overs)
# Five runs off the last one over. The Kane Williamson-led side now need 55 runs off 39 overs. New Zealand 77/0 (10 overs)
# Isuru Udana was brought into the attack and he was smashed for two back-to-back boundaries by Guptill (31) in the third and fourth delivery of the ninth over. The Black Caps now need just 69 runs from 41 overs. New Zealand 68/0 (9 overs)
# Nine runs off the last eight overs. Colin Munro (35) and Martin Guptill (22) continue to remain strong at the crease and have brought up a half-century mark for the first wicket. New Zealand need 78 runs from 42 overs. New Zealand 59/0 (8 overs)
# The Black Caps have added 24 runs in the last three overs, including a six and two boundaries. Guptill (16) and Munro (22) have settled at the middle and reduced the chase to 97 runs. New Zealand 40/0 (6 overs)
# Three runs off the last two overs. Guptill and Munro are currently batting at 10 and six, respectively. New Zealand 16/0 (3 overs)
# 10 runs off the very first over. Guptill got off the mark by scoring a boundary off the third ball of the first over, while Munro flicked the fifth delivery from Malinga towards square leg for a single. New Zealand 10/0 (1 over)
# Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have walked down the crease to begin New Zealand's chase. Lasith Malinga to start with the new ball.
# Innings Break!
# New Zealand bundle out Sri Lanka for 136 runs inside 29.2 overs. Sri Lanka 136 (29.2 overs)
# Suranga Lakmal is the new batsman in!
# WICKET! Udana was caught by James Neesham off the fourth delivery of the 25th over. Sri Lanka are now down to eight wickets. Sri Lanka 115/8 (25 overs)
# Isuru Udana is the new batsman in!
# WICKET! Mitchell Santner strikes for New Zealand. Thisara Perera attempted to go for the big shot off the fourth delivery of the 24th over but failed to get all of it and ended up giving an easy catch to Boult in the deep. Sri Lanka 113/7 (24 overs)
# 11 runs off the last one over. Skipper Karunaratne (40) continues to stand strong at the crease and is slowly approaching towards his half-century, while Thisara Perera (27) has somewhat settled down at the middle after Sri Lanka lost some quick wickets. Sri Lanka 111/6 (23 overs)
# De Grandhomme bowled an expensive 16th over, conceding 12 runs before Ferguson and Boult gave away just two runs each to Sri Lanka in the next two overs. Dimuth Karunaratne (26) continues to stand strong at the crease and is looking for good support from Thisara Perera (15) at the other end. Sri Lanka 84/6 (19 overs)
# Thisara Perera is the new batsman in!
# WICKET! Jeevan Mendis (one) pushed the second delivery of the 16th over from Ferguson with hard hands towards gully, only to see James Neesham bends to his left to grab a low catch. Sri Lanka 68/6 (16 overs)
# Jeevan Mendis comes to bat in!
# WICKET! De Grandhomme delivered a length ball around off and Mathews looked to defend it but ended up getting a faint edge of the bat as Tom Latham took a comfortable catch behind the wicket to remove the Sri Lankan veteran for a golden duck. Sri Lanka 60/5 (15 overs)
# Angelo Mathews is the new batsman in!
# WICKET! Ferguson was brought into the attack and he delivered in his very first over by removing David de Silva. The Sri Lankan was caught leg before wicket off the fifth delivery of the 12th over to depart for four runs. Sri Lanka 53/4 (12 overs)
# Lockie Ferguson comes into the attack!
# Dhananjaya de Silva is the new batsman in for Sri Lanka!
# WICKET! Matt Henry is on a roll today as he struck twice to remove Perera (29) and Kusal Mendis (0). While Perera was caught superbly by Colin de Grandhomme at mid-on off the first ball of the ninth over, Martin Guptill took a superb diving catch at second slip to remove Mendis for a golden duck. Sri Lanka 46/3 (8.2 overs)
# Sri Lanka have managed to add 16 runs off the last two overs, including two boundaries. Karunaratne and Perera are currently batting at 10 and 26, respectively. Sri Lanka 41/1 (7 overs)
# Five runs off the last over. Karunaratne (nine) and Perera (12) are somewhat looking settled at the crease and looking to stitch a partnership after losing Thirimanne cheaply. The New Zealand bowlers, meanwhile, are avoiding conceding easy runs to their opposition. Sri Lanka 25/1 (5 overs)
# Three runs off the very first over. Karunaratne got off the mark by guiding the fifth delivery of the second over from Trent Boult towards mid-on for a quick single, while Perera opened his account by driving the very next delivery into the gap between cover and point for one run. Sri Lanka 7/1 (2 overs)
# Kusal Perera is the new batsman in!
# WICKET! Henry gave the breakthrough to New Zealand as early as in the very first over. Thirimanne was caught leg before wicket off the second delivery of the first over to depart for four runs. Sri Lanka 4/1 (1 over)
# Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne will open the innings for Sri Lanka. Matt Henry to begin the proceedings for New Zealand.
# The two sides have walked down the crease for the national anthems.
New Zealand Playing XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Sri Lanka Playing XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
# New Zealand win toss, opt to field first against Sri Lanka!
# The toss is all set to take place in a few minutes.
Fourth-ranked New Zealand, who finished as the runner-ups in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup four years ago, will look to kickstart their campaign at the 2019 edition of the mega event on a winning note when they take on Sri Lanka in their opening match at the Sophia Gardens in Wales on Saturday.
Despite being one of the strongest performers at cricket’s biggest event, New Zealand have never managed to pick the World Cup glory in the eight appearances they made since their inception.
The Black Caps, who have made it to the semi-finals six times and the final four years ago, will definitely look to know how it feels to be a winner when they go
into 2019 edition of the cricket's showpiece event.
Heading into their opening clash against Sri Lanka, New Zealand will look to shrug off their 91-run defeat at the hands of West Indies in their second World Cup warm-up match and take inspiration from the six-wicket win over India in the practice match prior to that.
Ninth-ranked Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have been in dreadful form off-late as they are heading into the tournament on the back of their crushing defeat against Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the first group stage of last year’s Asia Cup and subsequent 11 defeats out of 12 ODIs they played afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Dimuth Karunaratne-led side's preparation for the World Cup have also not been ideal as they lost both of their warm-up clashes against South Africa and Australia, respectively.
However, the island nation has been quite successful in the cricket's showpiece event, having picked up the title in 1996 and finished as the runners-up in 2009 and 2011. Going into their opening match, Sri Lanka will look to take inspiration from their World Cup record.
The two squads are as follows:
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin
Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera
(wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.