New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum praised his team after their convincing 98-run win over Sri Lanka in their World Cup opener at a chilly Hagley Oval.
The Black Caps, widely-regarded as potential title winners in the marathon six-week tournament, piled up 331 for six with McCullum smashing a rapid 65 and Kane Williamson adding 57 in the middle of the innings.
Corey Anderson blasted 75 off 46 balls at the finish.
“It was a really good performance from the boys. We have been waiting a long time for this so it is great to complete our plans,” said McCullum after his side had been put into bat by the 1996 champions.
“The wicket was a bit on the slow side, but there was definitely good bounce and carry. It was great to lay the foundation and then allow the bigger hitters to come in and do the job. It’s great to beat a very tough Sri Lanka team.”
McCullum also praised his bowling attack with spinners Daniel Vettori and man-of-the-match Anderson taking two for 34 and two for 18 respectively.
“Daniel Vettori was brilliant as always,” said the captain.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews said his side let themselves down at crucial periods of the Pool A game in which they had been 124 for one at one stage.
“We knew it was going to be a good wicket so we knew we had to bowl well, but we started off poorly, and by that time it was too late,” said Mathews.
“Especially after the start they got when they reached 100 in the 13th over. We did reasonably well to pull them back, but we gave up 30-40 runs too many. Once we lost the big guys at the top it became tougher on the rest of the guys.”
Anderson was delighted to star in his home town.
“It’s nice to come back home and play in front of my family and friends,” he said.
“I guess this World Cup is the stuff we dream of. There were more nerves than normal.”