New Zealand opened the Cricket World Cup with an impressive 98-run victory over Sri Lanka on Friday night in Christchurch, New Zealand. Later, in Melbourne, Australia cruised to a 111-run victory over England.
In Christchurch, spin bowler Daniel Vettori, 36, took two wickets for 34 runs and also had two catches. But the man of the match was Corey Anderson; he took two wickets in 3.1 overs and, batting sixth, added 75 runs on 46 deliveries. New Zealand’s opening partnership of captain Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill scored 111 runs before McCullum was out for 65.
New Zealand finished 331 for 6 and held Sri Lanka to 233 all-out in reply.
Sri Lanka struck back briefly and had the Black Caps at 193 for 4 before Anderson took over.
Meantime, the New Zealand bowlers limited Sri Lanka’s dangerous lineup. Only opener Lahiru Thirimanne (65 runs off 60 deliveries) and captain Angelo Mathews (46 off 52) exceeded their batting average. The biggest wicket was Mahela Jayawardene, bowled by Vettori for zero in three minutes. Jayawardene entered with more than 10,000 ODI runs in his career, with a 33.48 average and 79.01 strike rate.
The victory was the latest impressive win for New Zealand against Sri Lanka, the 1996 World Cup winners. In an ODI series late last month, the Black Caps defeated Sri Lanka by 120 runs and 108 runs. It also will boost the hopes of New Zealand, co-hosts with Australia, that it can win the tournament for the first time having reached the semifinals six times, most recently in 2011.
New Zealand next plays Scotland on Tuesday in Dunedin. Sri Lanka plays Afghanistan on Feb. 22, also in Dunedin.
Meantime, Australia cruised to victory over England before 84,000 fans in Melbourne. Australia’s Aaron Finch scored 135 runs, though he nearly was out for zero; England’s Chris Woakes dropped a catch in the opening sequences. England battled back briefly thanks to the bowling of Stuart Broad but Australia piled on the runs at the end, then controlled the top of the England batting lineup. Australia finished 342 for 9, England was 231 all-0ut in reply.