Sri Lanka’s captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, became just the second batsman to carry his bat in a Cricket World Cup, making 52 not out as his team were bowled out for just 136 in their opening match of the tournament against New Zealand, the lowest score made in an ODI at the Cardiff Wales Stadium.
Despite the best efforts of their skipper that total was never enough for Sri Lanka and New Zealand won by 10 wickets with 203 balls to spare.
New Zealand won the toss and elected to put Sri Lanka into bat on a green pitch. It proved to be the correct decision almost immediately, with Matt Henry taking a wicket with the second ball of the match when he trapped Lahiru Thirimanne lbw for just four. There was a steadying of the ship from Kusal Perera and Karunaratne who put on 42 for the second wicket before a collapse of five wickets for just 14 runs ripped the heart out of the Sri Lankan innings. Having stumbled to 60/6 the Sri Lankans actually had something of a recovery to get to 136 all out.
Karunaratne’s innings was not without good fortune. Trent Boult got through his defences and hit the stumps but the bails were not removed. Then, with Sri Lanka nine wickets down it appeared he was the last man out when Mitchell Santner appeared to take a low catch in the deep. It was referred and the batman was given the benefit of the doubt as to whether it was taken cleanly.
It was the two New Zealand out and out quicks, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson, who returned the best figures, both claiming three Sri Lankan wickets.
With a small target to chase down, and the chance to get a significant Net Run Rate advantage, New Zealand chased down the total with relative ease despite a tidy new ball burst from Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal. It took a little while for Colin Munro and Martin Guptill to get going, but once they did, they put on an unbroken stand of 137 to complete a comprehensive victory.
The next match for New Zealand will see them take on Bangladesh at the Oval on Wednesday 5 June. For Sri Lanka they will be hoping they can turn things around in their next fixture against Afghanistan which will also take place in Cardiff.