CWC 15: Blackcaps down Sri Lanka in opener

The Blackcaps have started their much talked about CWC campaign with a win against Sri Lanka in Christchurch.

All batsmen for the Blackcaps put in respectable efforts and solid totals with the bat but none managed to go on to reach the three figure mark during the process of building a mammoth total.

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Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill got the Blackcaps off to a rocketing start in bowler-friendly conditions.

McCullum smashed three boundaries in as many balls to open his CWC account.

Guptill looked solid, settling himself into his work in usual cautious fashion.

McCullum raced to a half century and as the Blackcaps quickly reached 100 runs for no loss, Sri Lanka went to a familiar opponent for New Zealand in the form of spinner Rangana Herath.

McCullum tried to hit Herath for six down the ground but just held out on the boundary to Jeevan Mendis, departing for a quick fire 65.

Guptill hung around for a while longer before edging to Sangakarra on 49.

Kane Williamson looked nervous and out of shape at the crease for the early part of his innings.

But once Williamson found the fence a couple of times, fortunes quickly changed and suddenly Williamson got the run rate up again and powered past 50 runs.

All batsmen put in healthy contributions apart from Ross Taylor.

Grant Elliot chipped in with 29 and Luke Ronchi finished on 29.

Corey Anderson was the story for the Blackcaps though, batting the side out of a potentially disappointing sub par score situation after all the work at the top of the innings.

Once Anderson neared 50, the middle order power hitter put the foot down in the last period of the innings to bat the Blackcaps past 300, ending with 75 before going out on the last ball of the innings.

The Blackcaps finished on a commanding 331 at Hagley Oval.

Sri Lanka batted aggressively in the reply as Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 67 for the first wicket before Daniel Vettori fooled Dilshan in the air for an easy caught and bowled.

Thirimanne battled on, reaching his half century as the partnership with Kumar Sangakarra built.

As the halfway point in the run chase neared, Sri Lanka looked more and more composed, and really looked capable of mounting a series challenge on the target.

But suddenly Trent Boult broke the shackles with a yorker to Thirimanne, sending the wickets out of the ground and breaking the threatening partnership.

Sri Lanka’s champion pairing of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra were now at the crease together with a further 200 runs required.

Vettori struck again quickly, nicking Jayawardene through to Ronchi for a duck.

This firmly put the Blackcaps on top.

Sri Lankan hearts were broken when Trent Boult delivered another terrific yorker, trapping Sangakarra in front to be given out LBW as replays showed the bat hadn’t made contact with the ball.

Adam Milne took a further two wickets as Sri Lanka capitulated under the growing pressure of the run rate.

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews batted defiantly as the match drew further and further out of reach, putting together a solid 46 before losing his wicket to the bowling of Tim Southee.

Corey Anderson had the final say, getting Herath out, to hand the Blackcaps a comprehensive victory by 98 runs at Hagley Oval.

CWC 2015: All in readiness

On the eve of the Cricket World Cup, a nation waits with patience and expectation.

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Form is on the Blackcaps side heading into tomorrow’s CWC opener in Christchurch, but with that said, the results so far this summer mean absolutely nothing either.

The Blackcaps are seen as one of the potential World Cup winners this year, something that hasn’t been said all that often in past tournaments with as much conviction.

Last night, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said “go well boys go well” passionately during the opening ceremony.

New Zealand as a country are behind the Blackcaps.

On form, good performances with both bat and ball have been more consistent than ever. New Zealand opener Martin Guptill has been improving innings after innings, and the form of Kane Williamson who bats at the crucial number three role is in career best.

Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor will both deliver with the bat, and the middle order is suited nicely with Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi, both of whom batted well in the recent series prior to the CWC.

Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Mitchell Mcclenaghan, and to a lesser extent Kyle Mills are all in form with the ball and can deliver wickets against any team.

Quite simply, this is a Blackcaps side that comes into the CWC in red hot form – capable of capturing the trophy.

Sri Lanka are a tough one first up. The side has been in New Zealand for the better part of a couple of months, and despite losing the recent series, signs were there that Sri Lanka may be the sub continent side that is most capable of performing well in foreign conditions.

Sri Lanka possess four main threats with the bat in the form of Dilshan, Jayawardene, Sangakarra, and Matthews.

There is also a deadly option with the ball in the form of Lasith Malinga.

The tagline is “greatness is contagious”, but the question remains of if the Blackcaps will be able to deliver that greatness right throughout cricket’s showcase tournament.