International Cricket Council World Cup 2019 has kicked off since Thursday but real competition and thrill is yet to be seen as almost all the three matches played were one-sided. England defeated the Africans comfortably with a clear margin of 104, then Pakistani batting collapsed before the pace battery of West Indies and men in green suffered a humiliating defeat on Friday at Trent Bridge.
Today once again we saw the Islanders falling prey to Matt Henry led enthusiastic bowling unit of New Zealand. Sri Lanka was restricted to mere 136 in 29.2 overs here at Cardiff. Lockie Ferguson also played his part and sent 3 Islanders to the pavilion in his 6.2 overs and conceded only 22 runs. This was the 10th time when a team won a World Cup match by 10 wickets and Kiwis did it 3rd time today at Cardiff.
Matt Henry produced a brilliant spell with his swing and pace to recompense for the injured Tim Southee, senior Kiwi pacer. He conceded a boundary on his very first ball and bounced back on the next ball by dismissing Lahiru Thirimanne, the opening Sri Lankan batsman.
Left-arm Karunaratne, who joined the team after four years, scored 42 runs in partnership with Kusal Parera. In his fifth over, Henry dismissed Parera for 29 and on the next ball he sent Kusal Mendis to the pavilion for a duck. Dhananjaya de Silva drove the hat-trick ball for a boundary but soon fell a prey to Lockie Ferguson’s pace.
Kunaratne, skipper of Sri Lankan side, stood his ground despite the odds and scored an unbeaten 52. Thisara Parera scored 27 off 23 balls to help his team cross the 100 run mark.
The remaining batting line up showed a little spine with three of them going for a duck, including Angelo Mathews, the former Sri Lankan skipper. Henry and Ferguson both hunted three Islanders each while Jimmy Neesham, de Grandhomme, Trent Boult and the only spin bowler Mitchel Santner took one wicket each.
Scoring 137 against the Lankans at Cardiff was a child’s stuff for the Kiwi openers as they came, they settled themselves and then scored unbeaten half centuries to get off the mark. They completed the run chase in 17th over to register a thumping win over Sri Lanka. The combination of right-left handed openers felt no trouble in thrashing the Sri Lankan bowlers and they maintained the run rate of more than 8 throughout the run chase.
Martin Guptill struck eight fours and three maximums including one hit which thrown the ball out of the stadium, to score an unbeaten 73. Colin Munro, left-arm Kiwi opener, also contributed 58 on 48 balls he faced to power New Zealand to a stunning victory over Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka will face the newbies, Afghanistan on June 4 at the Cardiff. New Zealand, runners-up of 2015 World Cup, will lock horns with Bangladesh at London on 5th June.