Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson tear up Sri Lanka

Play 01:38

Henry takes third wicket as Sri Lanka flounder

New Zealand 137 for 0 (Guptill 73*, Munro 58*) beat Sri Lanka 136 (Karunaratne 52*, Ferguson 3-22, Henry 3-29) by 10 wickets
As it happened

Yes it was a good toss to win. Yes it was a green pitch. Yes it was beautiful morning on which to bowl. All that said, New Zealand’s demolition of Sri Lanka in Cardiff was a powerful display by a team that always seems to figure at the pointy end of World Cups, demonstrating too that the climes of an early English summer (albeit in Wales this day) will only add to the their prospects of progressing to the final four.

Equally, Sri Lanka’s meekness – apart from a doughty innings by their captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who was the 12th cricketer and second Sri Lankan to carry his bat in an ODI – underlined the somewhat listless state of their cricket presently. A few months after the horrific Easter terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the island nation would have hoped for some good news; instead Karunaratne’s men looked overwhelmed by their opponents, the conditions and the occasion.

This was also the third match in a row at the World Cup to finish well ahead of schedule with a yawning gap between the sides. On that evidence, notions of a 10-team format reducing the number of “mismatches” and increasing “competitiveness” are already looking shaky.

Watch on Hotstar (India only): All the wickets the New Zealand bowlers took

Opportunity often brings discovery, a point underlined by how Matt Henry responded to keeping his place ahead of a not-yet-fully-fit Tim Southee. Taking the new ball, Henry struck with his second ball to put Sri Lanka off balance from the start, and his command of line and length set a strong example for others to follow – something recognised by the match award.

Lockie Ferguson‘s undoubted pace also turned heads, scything through the Sri Lankan middle order to ensure that Colin Munro and Martin Guptill had only a modest chase to gobble up. Gobble they did, sprinting home with a whopping 203 balls remaining.

Matt Henry appeals for the wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne © PA Images via Getty Images

There was a time, after Henry’s initial breakthrough, where Sri Lanka looked capable of more. As Karunaratne dropped anchor, Kusal Perera flayed a quartet of boundaries through the cover and gully regions with the axeman’s relish of a latter-day Sanath Jayasuriya.

At 46 for 1 after eight overs they were well and truly in the game, but Perera’s eagerness to get to grips with the New Zealand pacemen got the better of him when consolidation may have been wiser, skying Henry to open up an end. When Henry got his areas exactly right for Kusal Mendis’ first ball, squared up and edging to a diving Guptill at second slip, the game was more or less up.

More to follow

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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