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NZ thrash SL by 98 runs in opener

By The Assam Tribune

CHRISTCHURCH, Feb 14 (PTI): Hosts New Zealand gave the cricket World Cup a cracking start with a scintillating batting show as they crushed last edition losing finalists Sri Lanka by 98 runs in the opening match of the showpiece event here today.

Sent into bat, New Zealand posted an imposing 331 for six with captain Brendon McCullum (65) and big-hitting Corey Anderson (75) smashing boundary-laden half centuries to set the World Cup alight.

In-form Kane Williamson also chipped in with a useful 57 on a batting pitch at the Hagley Oval as the Black Caps hit the Lankan bowlers all over the park.

Chasing a stiff target, Sri Lanka lost three key wickets, including those of Mahela Jayawardene (0) and Kumar Sangakkara (39), in a heap in middle overs to be bundled out for 233 in 46.1 overs and lose the lopsided Group A game.

Opener Lahiru Thirimanne was the lone batsman to offer any semblance of a fight with a 60-ball 65 while captain Angelo Mathews made 46 as Sri Lankan batting came a cropper.

Mathew�s decision to bowl first seemed correct as there was light rain just after the toss and the start of the match was delayed by eight minutes but it ultimately boomeranged as the home side batsmen made a flying star and there was hardly any lull except a few overs midway into the Kiwi innings.

McCullum, who hit 10 fours and a six in his 49-ball knock, and Martin Guptill (49) put on 111 runs from 15.5 overs for the opening wicket before a twin strike off consecutive deliveries by leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis in the 34th over � that of Williamson and Ross Taylor (14) � put brakes on the New Zealand innings.


New Zealand: Martin Guptill c Sangakkara b Lakmal 49, Brendon McCullum c Mendis b Herath 65, Kane Williamson c Karunaratne b Mendis 57, Ross Taylor st Sangakkara b Mendis 14, Grant Elliott c Thirimanne b Lakmal 29, Corey Anderson c Lakmal b Kulasekara 75, Luke Ronchi not out 29. Extras: (LB-2 W-8 NB-3) 13. Total: (For 6 wkts in 50 overs) 331. Fall of wickets: 1-111, 2-136, 3-193, 4-193, 5-258, 6-331. Bowling: Nuwan Kulasekara 8-0-78-1, Lasith Malinga 10-0-84-0, Angelo Mathews 6-0-28-0, Rangana Herath 9-0-37-1, Tillakaratne Dilshan 5-0-35-0, Suranga Lakmal 10-0-62-2, Jeevan Mendis 2-0-5-2.

Sri Lanka: L Thirimanne b Boult 65, T Dilshan c & b Vettori 24, K Sangakkara lbw b Boult 39, M Jayawardene c Ronchi b Vettori 0, D Karunaratne b Milne 14, A Mathews c Vettori b Southee 46, J Mendis c Ronchi b Milne 4, N Kulasekara c Elliott b Anderson 10, R Herath c Milne b Anderson 13, S Malinga c Ronchi b Southee 0, S Lakmal not out 7. Extras: (W-10, NB-1) 11. Total: (For 10 wkts, 46.1 overs) 233. Fall of wickets: 1-67, 2-124, 3-125, 4-129, 5-163, 6-168, 7-196, 8-216, 9-217. Bowling: Southee 10-1-43-2, Boult 10-0-64-2, Milne 10-0-57-2, Vettori 10-0-34-2, Elliott 2-0-11-0, Williamson 1-0-7-0, Anderson 3.1-0-18-2.

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