New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka in the opening 50-overs encounter of five-match ODI series at Christchurch. New Zealand won the match, destroying Sri Lanka by 7 wickets with 29 overs in hand.
After winning the toss, Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews decided to bat first. 24-years old, New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls made his international debut in this match.
New Zealand right-arm pacer Matt Henry’s furious opening spell shook the Sri Lankan top-order. In the first 10 overs, Sri Lanka lost their five top-order batsmen including their skipper for a golden duck. Of the first five wickets, last four wickets were taken by Matt Henry. Also, he was on a hat-trick in the 8th over of that innings, when he sent back Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews in consecutive balls. After that collapse, Milinda Siriwardana and Chamara Kapugedera were trying to salvage Sri Lankan innings, but Kapugedera failed finally in the 18th over in that innings after scoring just 8 runs.
From 65/6, Nuwan Kulasekara and Siriwardana took the responsibilities to keep Lankan innings afloat. They both were involved a 98 runs partnership in the 21.1 overs. Siriwardana scored 66 runs before he got out, where Kulasekara (58) hit his 4th ODI half-century in the Sri Lanka’s troubling moment. After getting out two set batsmen in the back-to-back overs, Sri Lanka didn’t show much fight as they were bundled up for just 188 runs in the 47 overs. Dhusmantha Chameera remained not out on 13 runs, which was the third highest score for the Sri Lankan in this innings as only three batsmen crossed the two-digit score.
Apart from the 4 wickets of Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell picked up 3 wickets.
In reply, the hosts batted totally opposite to which the visitors had done earlier. Both the openers, Martin Guptill and the skipper Brendon McCullum blasted over the Sri Lankan bowlers. They scored 108 runs in the first powerplay (0.1-10 overs) whereas the visitors had scored 29/5 at the same stage. McCullum hit a half-century in just 23 balls while Guptill hit his 15th half-century in just 39 balls. McCullum (55) got out at the very first ball in the 11th over while Guptill (79) was sent back to the pavilion close to the victory.
Debutant batsman Henry Nicholls came to bat at no.5 and played an unbeaten knock of 23 runs in 21 balls to finish the match for the New Zealand. New Zealand reached that target in the just 21 overs with 7 wickets in hands. Milne was selected for the man of the match award for his furious bowling.
The second match will be played on Monday at the same venue.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 188/10 in 47 overs (M.Siriwardana 66, N.Kulasekara 58, M.Henry 4/49)
New Zealand 189/3 in 21 overs (M.Guptill 79, B.McCullum 55, M.Siriwardana 2/45)