Captain Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson smashed aggressive half centuries as New Zealand produced a strong batting show to score 331 for six against Sri Lanka in the opening match of the cricket World Cup here today.
Put into bat, New Zealand gave a rollicking start to the showpiece event with McCullum (65) and Martin Guptill (49) putting on 111 runs from 15.5 overs for the opening wicket before a useful knock of 57 from Kane Williamson and a blistering innings by Anderson (75) took the home side to an imposing total on a batting track at Hagley Park.
McCullum, who hit 10 fours and a six in his 49-ball knock, and Guptil raced to 77 for no loss at the end of 10 overs with the Kiwi captain smashing an erratic Lasith Malinga for 23 runs in the bowler’s fourth over and eighth of the innings with the help of four boundaries and a six.
Malinga was taken off immediately after conceding 42 runs from his first spell of four overs. An expensive Malinga ended the innings wicketless while conceding 84 runs from his 10 overs. He was a bit unlucky as he thought he got Luke Ronchi out in the 47th over but the umpire ruled it was a no-ball for overstepping the crease.
New Zealand reached to 100-mark in the 14th over but McCullum got out two overs later while going for a pre-determined shot off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath only to find Jeevan Mendis just mere inches from boundary ropes. New Zealand lost their first wicket at Nelson score of 111.
The other partner, Guptil was out in the 23rd over off Suranga Lakmal with wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara diving to his right to take the edge offered by the batsman to put a brake on the Kiwi charge.
Sri Lanka were able to slow down the New Zealand innings in the middle overs with Lakmal, Herath and Angelo Mathews bowling economical spells. It looked like the match could turn on its head as the home side were dealt a double blow with Williamson and Ross Taylor (14) getting out in consecutive balls in the 34th over bowled by leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis
But Anderson had other ideas in mind as he smashed the Lankan bowlers to all over the park in his 46-ball innings which was studded with eight boundaries and two sixes. He stitched 73 runs with Ronchi (29 not out) for the sixth wicket and was out last ball of the innings bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara.
For Sri Lanka, Lakmal and Mendis grabbed two wickets each while Herath and Kulasekara got one apiece.