Corey Anderson’s quick-fire 75 and two wickets saw the Kiwis kick off their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Campaign with a bang. The Hagley Oval Cricket Ground in Christchurch is a happy hunting ground for Brendon McCullum and his men. Following their home series win over Sri Lanka prior to the World Cup, New Zealand maintained their domination over the South Asian Islanders with a 98 run win.
New Zealand Openers Decimate Sri Lankan Attack
Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews chose to bowl first after winning the toss. He made his decision based on the overcast conditions but forgot that the team batting first has always had an upper-hand at the Hagley Oval.
Another one of Angelo Mathews’ decisions backfired on him when he chose to unleash Lasith Malinga on the Kiwi opening pair of Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum. Malinga was hammered for 23 runs in the eighth over by McCullum.
The bowling pair of Suranga Lakmal and Malinga also saw their deliveries smashed to all parts of Christchurch by the Kiwi openers. Captain McCullum, in particular was at his menacing best. His smashing innings of 65 coupled with Guptill’s elegant 49 saw the openers add a mammoth 111 runs partnership for the first wicket.
Middle Order Makes Significant Contributions
Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s most technically sound batsman came to the centre after McCullum was dismissed on Rangana Herath’s delivery. With all the ground work done by the openers, the youngster had a crucial role to play. Williamson went on to build a crucial partnership with Ross Taylor. The duo added 82 runs for the third wicket. Williamson contributed 57 runs to that partnership.
Corey Anderson Takes Center Stage
Known for his finishing prowess, left handed powerhouse Corey Anderson strolled onto the centre stage with 16 overs remaining. Little did Angelo Mathews’ Sri Lanka know that a Corey Anderson blitzkrieg was to follow. The batting powerplay was nothing short of a nightmare for the seasoned Sri Lankan strike bowlers.
Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara’s saw their good length deliveries smashed to all parts by Corey Anderson and his partner in crime, Luke Ronchi. Despite Corey Anderson being dismissed on the last ball of the innings, the damage had been well and truly been done. He scored 75 runs off just 46 balls.
Lahiru Thirimanne Gets Sri Lanka Off To A Solid Start
Anticipating that the Hagley Oval wicket would start assisting swing bowling in the second innings of a match, the Sri Lankan opening pair of Lahiru Thirimanne and Tilakaratne Dilshan got the Lankans off to a bright start. Thirimanne’s cover drives and uppish back-footed on-drives were a treat to watch. The southpaw’s elegance saw the Asian Islanders get off to a fabulous start. Despite the loss of Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Thirimanne stitched a patient partnership to keep the run rate in check.
Trent Boult’s Twin Strikes Leave Sri Lanka Vulnerable
Trent Boult’s ability to swing the ball both ways was the undoing of the Sri Lankan batsmen in the recently concluded series against New Zealand, prior to the World Cup.
The left handed seamer wreaked havoc on the Sri Lankans once again. His out swingers got rid of Thirimanne and Snagakkara and left the middle order vulnerable to the pace of Adam Milne and Tim Southee.
Sri Lankan Middle Order Collapses
A series of atrocious shots especially from Jeevan Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne saw a quick middle order collapse. The lower order consisting of mainly pinch hitters and bowling specialists offered little resistance. Angelo Mathews received little help from the likes of Kulasekara and Jeevan Mendis and his eventual demise due to a wild swing triggered his side’s downfall. The Sri Lankan innings folded up for a mere 233 in the 47th over.
Man of the match Corey Anderson has well and truly announced himself on the World Cup arena. The dominant performance has enhanced the ‘favourites’ tag of the Kiwis. Mike Hesson will certainly be hoping that his side churn up performances similar to this against the other teams to ensure that the Kiwi’s lift the Cricket World Cup for the first time in their history.