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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

World Cup 2019: Clinical New Zealand steamroll Sri Lanka by 10 wickets

New Zealand produced a clinical display to round off a convincing 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their opening fixture at the ongoing World Cup in Cardiff on Saturday.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: June 1, 2019 8:32:09 pm
New Zealand’s players celebrate after beating Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Saturday. (AP)

New Zealand produced a clinical display to round off a convincing 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their opening fixture at the ongoing World Cup in Cardiff on Saturday. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was the lone ranger with the bat as his teammates failed to resist the marauding Kiwi bowling attack.

Sri Lanka were bundled out on 136 in 29.2 overs. New Zealand in response completed the chase in just 16.1 overs without any loss as openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro struck their respective half-centuries.

Toss: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bowl first. Tim Southee failed to make it to the Kiwi playing XI due to a calf injury, as the side fielded two all-rounders. Henry Nicholls also missed the contest due to an injury. Karunaratne after the toss admitted he would also have bowled first to take advantage of the green tinge on the pitch.

First Innings: Matt Henry spearheaded the Kiwi bowling unit and scalped three wickets to dismiss Sri Lanka on a below-par total. Henry returned with figures reading 29/3 in seven overs to justify Williamson’s decision to bowl first. Lockie Ferguson also picked three wickets in the absence of senior paceman Tim Southee. Karunaratne was the lone batsman to impress amid the carnage with his unbeaten 52 which took the scorecard to 136.

Second Innings: The opening pair of Guptill and Munro got off to a solid start as New Zealand completed the chase in less than 17 overs. Both the batsmen completed their half-centuries and remained unbeaten on 73 and 58 respectively as New Zeland completed the chase in a jiffy.

Gamechanger: Henry’s spell of 29/3 in seven overs led to the collapse of Sri Lankan batting line-up. He got New Zealand off to a great start by trapping Lahiru Thirimanne leg-before in the second ball of the first over. He then provided Kiwis with another breakthrough in the form of Kusal Perera in the first ball of the ninth over, as Perera and skipper Karunaratne were trying to recalibrate the Sri Lankan innings. The pacer then went on to dismiss Kusal Mendis in the very next delivery

Captains Speak:

Kane Williamson: A great start. Winning the toss and taking early wickets was crucial on that wicket. It was a terrific effort from the bowlers to keep that pressure for 30 overs. I don’t think there is a problem with these pitches. With the new ball in both innings, you can expect some movement. When you bowl a side out for a lowish total, it’s going to be quite a tough thing to defend, and the full ball won’t be as threatening against unconventional cricket. It was slowish movement, so it was a surface where, if you can see off the movement, it’s easier to bat, but we were fortunate to get early wickets because it stopped doing a lot at the back-end. In England we can expect different kinds of wickets. In the warm-up games we saw all kinds of attacks and wickets, so it is important to have a balanced attack for these wickets. We didn’t have too many conversations with the bowlers. But with the green tinge, you could expect the bowlers to be aggressive and they really were good up top. Munro played with freedom, and played a lot of shots, and that’s going to infuse a lot of confidence, so we are hoping to carry this forward, on a different surface against a different opposition.

Dimuth Karunaratne: Of course, I think 136 was not enough in these conditions. Me and Kusal (Perera) batted well, but we lost wickets regularly after that. We need to build partnerships. In the morning it was seaming and swinging a little bit, and they had that advantage. They also had good bowlers to do that. Everyone is coming to watch some good entertaining cricket, so I’m looking forward to some good batting wickets. We batted well in practice games and practised hard, but we need to understand when to accelerate and stay patient before we go for our shots. It’s tough to bat in these conditions, but we need to give ourselves a chance – after you get set, it’s much easier to bat, and the part-timers come on so it’s much easier to get runs against them.

Brief Scores: SL 136 (29.2) | NZ 137/0 (16.1)

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