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  5. World Cup 2015: NZ blasts 331-6 vs Sri Lanka, Match 1

World Cup 2015: NZ blasts 331-6 vs Sri Lanka, Match 1

Christchurch, New Zealand: Brendon McCullum made 65 and Corey Anderson a late 75 from 46 balls as New Zealand reached 331-6 in the opening match of the Cricket World Cup on Saturday, punishing Sri Lanka's

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk Updated on: February 14, 2015 8:04 IST
world cup 2015 nz blasts 331 6 vs sri lanka match 1
world cup 2015 nz blasts 331 6 vs sri lanka match 1

Christchurch, New Zealand: Brendon McCullum made 65 and Corey Anderson a late 75 from 46 balls as New Zealand reached 331-6 in the opening match of the Cricket World Cup on Saturday, punishing Sri Lanka's unexpected decision to bowl on winning the toss.

The prevailing thought was that the team which won the toss would bat on a hard, dry and fast pitch at Hagley Oval on which teams have averaged more than 280 in the first innings of recent matches.

New Zealand made 331-8 in its final warmup match against South Africa on the same ground.

The return from injury of Lasith Malinga bolstered the Sri Lanka attack and might have emboldened them to have first shot at the New Zealand batsmen. New Zealand has struggled in the past with Malinga's slingy, round-arm action in the past but he failed to become a gamebreaker Saturday, conceding 42 runs from his first four overs, including 23 — with four fours and a six, all hit by McCullum — from his fourth.

Malinga's return from an ankle injury to play his first one-day international since August was an unhappy one as he ended with no wicket for 84 from his 10 overs. He was denied even the small consolation of the wicket of Luke Ronchi (29 not out) who he bowled for 16 in his ninth over — the 47th of the innings — before television replays showed he had over-stepped for a no ball.

McCullum posted the first half-century of the World Cup — the 28th of his career — from 35 balls with eight fours and a six and went on to 65 from 49 balls before also being the first batsman dismissed in the tournament. New Zealand had reached the traditionally unlucky 111 when McCullum hoisted a ball from Rangana Herath to Jeevan Mendis who balanced himself to take a good catch a footstep inside the long off boundary.

The 111-run partnership between McCullum and Martin Guptill, which set the innings on a firm foundation, had taken only 97 balls, thanks largely to McCullum's aggressive start. The New Zealand captain scored freely on both sides of the wicket, hitting drives like tracer bullets past point and cover.

Guptill had reached 49, threatening a half century, when he was caught by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara from the bowling of Suranga Lakmal in the 23rd over when New Zealand was 136. Sangakkara, who had earlier missed a difficult catch from Kane Williamson, atoned with a diving, one-handed catch which ended Guptill's innings after 93 minutes and 62 balls.

New Zealand's scoring rate slowed substantially with the loss of its two openers. Williamson took time to establish his innings and was twice dropped in its early stages, first by Sangakkara before he had scored and again by Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews at cover, off Nuwan Kulasekara, when he was 28.

Williamson took advantage of those let-offs to post the 16th half century of his one-day international career from 59 balls with four fours and a six. He was out for 57 when New Zealand was 193 in the 34th over, falling to a magnificent outfield catch by Dimuth Karunaratne from the bowling of Jeevan Mendis.

New Zealand struggled to regain the momentum it achieved in the early overs through McCullum until Anderson went on the offensive at the end. Dropped on 46 by Mendis off Lakmal, Anderson reached his half century from 36 balls with six fours and a six.

Anderson moved New Zealand past 300 with a six in the 48th over and was out on the last ball of the innings.

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