A threat-free run chase that followed a disciplined bowling effort by a well-led New Zealand outfit saw the Kiwis demolish Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in their opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 today (1st June) at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
Sri Lanka were put in to bat on a green top by Kane Willamson after he won the all-important toss. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne opened the batting with Lahiru Thirimanne, but the two left-handers were separated early in the first over of the match by Matt Henry, who made it to the playing XI due to a late injury sustained by Tim Southee.
Thirimanne was the first to go as he missed a straight delivery after collecting a boundary off the very first ball of the match. After facing two extremes, a boundary and a wicket, in the first two deliveries of their World Cup campaign, Sri Lanka seemed to settle fast, as the dashing Kusal Perera started to find the fence regularly.
The 42-run swift 2nd wicket stand between Perera and Karunaratne was also assisted by a bit of luck when the stumps remained undisturbed as Karunaratne chopped on a Trent Boult delivery. However, Perera kept muscling away the Kiwi seamers despite Karunaratne’s struggle, only until he skied one up in the air off Henry, to throw his wicket away.
Sri Lanka’s biggest hope in the tournament, Kusal Mendis got off to a horrendous start in his World Cup debut as he was dismissed for a golden duck, edging a Henry delivery to the slip cordon. Walking in at number 5, ahead of Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva started off brilliantly with a perfect straight drive off the hat-trick ball by Henry.
Introduced to the attack as the first change bowler, Lockie Ferguson made sure de Silva scored nothing more than the first boundary as he dismissed him LBW with his fiery fast bowling. Replacing Henry, who completed an excellent 7-over spell which removed 3 Lankan wickets, Colin de Grandhomme managed to take the edge of Angelo Mathews’ bat to put Sri Lanka further in trouble. The islanders were reeling on 59/5 when their former skipper went for a 9-ball duck.
Fighting alone as wickets kept falling at the opposite end, Karunaratne was left stranded when returning veteran Jeevan Mendis became Ferguson’s 2ndvictim of the day. He then started to accelerate a bit as he was joined by Thisara Perera. The two lefties built the first half-century stand for Sri Lanka in the tournament as they added 52 runs in 50 deliveries for the 7th wicket.
Perera’s 23-ball knock of 27 which included 2 big sixes came to an end when he mistimed a Santner delivery to bring Isuru Udana to the crease on 112/7. With so much expected of him after his blitz in South Africa, Udana failed to deliver on the biggest stage of World Cricket as he was dismissed by James Neesham.
Suranga Lakmal then entertained the crowd with some fancy tail-ender’s shots. Skipper Karunaratne then reached his half-century, overshadowed by regular wickets, as he fought his heart out to take Sri Lanka to a respectable total. Ferguson then had the final say in the pathetic Sri Lankan innings as he castled last man Lasith Malinga, leaving Karunaratne unbeaten on 52 at the other end. This feat helped Karunaratne go down in history as just the second man to carry his bat through a completed innings of a World Cup match. It was Ridley Jacobs of the Windies who had done it before in 1999 against Australia.
Sri Lanka started their total defense with the memory of them making it extremely hard for the Kiwis to chase down 138 back in 2013 when they lost their first match of the ICC Champions Trophy by just 1 wicket at the same venue. The Lankan star 6 years ago, Lasith Malinga couldn’t provide the ideal start for his team however as he was hit for 10 runs in the first over.
Not looking back, the hard-hitting Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro eased towards the required target as if they were batting on a completely different track to the one on which they bowled. The only notable chance Sri Lanka had during their disappointing display of bowling was when the highest run-scorer of the 2015 World Cup, Guptill edged Malinga’s second ball of the day. However, that too fell well-short of Karunaratne at slip.
Thisara Perera managed to convince his captain to review a decision given favouring Munro for a caught behind towards the end of the innings only to be proved wrong. The two batsmen finished off the game in just 16.1 overs with an excellent run-rate of 8.47.
All five bowlers used by Karunaratne went for more than 7 runs per over while Sri Lanka crashed to a 10-wicket defeat in less than 4 and a half hours. They will now face Afghanistan this Tuesday at the same ‘unlucky’ venue.
|Lahiru Thirimanne||lbw b Matt Henry||4||2||1||0||200.00|
|Dimuth Karunaratne||not out||52||84||4||0||61.90|
|Kusal Perera||c Colin de Grandhomme b Matt Henry||29||24||4||0||120.83|
|Kusal Mendis||c Martin Guptill b Matt Henry||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||lbw b Lockie Ferguson||4||13||1||0||30.77|
|Angelo Mathews||c Tom Latham b Colin de Grandhomme||0||9||0||0||0.00|
|Jeevan Mendis||c Jimmy Neesham b Lockie Ferguson||1||4||0||0||25.00|
|Thisara Perera||c Tim Southee b Mitchell Santner||27||23||0||2||117.39|
|Isuru Udana||c Matt Henry b Jimmy Neesham||0||3||0||0||0.00|
|Suranga Lakmal||c Mitchell Santner b Trent Boult||7||13||1||0||53.85|
|Lasith Malinga||b Lockie Ferguson||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|Extras||11 (b 1 , lb 0 , nb 2, w 8, pen 0)|
|Total||136/10 (29.2 Overs, RR: 4.64)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-4 (0.2) Lahiru Thirimanne, 2-46 (8.1) Kusal Perera, 3-46 (8.2) Kusal Mendis, 4-53 (11.5) Dhananjaya de Silva, 5-59 (14.4) Angelo Mathews, 6-60 (15.2) Jeevan Mendis, 7-112 (23.4) Thisara Perera, 8-114 (24.4) Isuru Udana, 9-130 (28.1) Suranga Lakmal, 10-136 (29.2) Lasith Malinga,|
|Colin de Grandhomme||2||0||14||1||7.00|
|Martin Guptill||not out||73||51||8||2||143.14|
|Colin Munro||not out||58||47||6||1||123.40|
|Extras||6 (b 0 , lb 3 , nb 1, w 2, pen 0)|
|Total||137/0 (16.1 Overs, RR: 8.47)|