Before the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the entire talk was how flat the pitches in England were and that batting teams will have a field day, notching up scores of 350+ with ease. However, three games later, the exact opposite has happened. Pakistan were blown away for 105 in Trent Bridge by West Indies, considered one of the flattest pitches in England. In the third match of the ICC Cricket world Cup 2019 in Cardiff, Sri Lanka suffered from a clinical performance by New Zealand. Matt Henry's 3/29 and Lockie Ferguson's 3/22, combined with aggressive fifties from Martin Guptill (73*) and Colin Munro (58*) gave New Zealand the ideal start to their World Cup campaign with a 10-wicket win against Sri Lanka at Sophia Gardens on Saturday. This was New Zealand's first-ever 10-wicket win against Sri Lanka in this tournament and it all started well right at the start with Kane Williamson inserting Sri Lanka in on a pitch that had a good covering of grass.
Henry opened the bowling and he was greeted by a flick to the fine leg boundary by Lahiru Thirimanne but the bowler had his revenge the very next ball. Henry bowled a good length ball that straightened on midde and leg stump, Thirimanne played across the line and was trapped in front but the umpire did not raise the finger. A superb review by skipper Kane Williamson saw the ball pitching in line and hitting leg stump and Thirimanne departed for 4. Kusal Perera took the attack to the New Zealand bowlers on a surface where they were getting some swing.
However, the tactic to attack proved costly and in the ninth over bowled by Henry, New Zealand ensured they totally dominated proceedings. Henry accounted for Kusal Perera (27) with the left-hander miscuing a full ball to Colin de Grandhomme at mid on while Kusal Mendis (0) was undone by a delivery that straightened and the outside edge was taken by Martin Guptill. Dimuth Karunaratne, playing his first ODI after four years, held on at one end but he played cautiously as Sri Lanka's innings stagnated.
The introduction of Lockie Ferguson consolidated New Zealand's position. Ferguson accounted for Dhananjaya de Silva and Sri Lanka were dealt a body blow when Angelo Mathews fell for a nine-ball duck to Colin de Grandhomme. When Ferguson got the edge of Jeevan Mendis, it seemed Sri Lanka would not reach 100. However, Thisara Perera showed his worth lower down the order. The left-hander launched de Grandhomme for a big six. Both Karunaratne and Thisara shared a fifty-run stand as both held on and looked to get Sri Lanka towards a respectable total.
Thisara launched a six off James Neesham but the 53-run stand was broken when Thisara holed out to long on off Mitchell Santner for 27. Karunaratne tried to stitch partnerships with the tail and reached his third fifty but the innings ended on 136 when Fergsuon cleaned up Lasith Malinga to take his third wicket. In response, New Zealand were in no pressure whatsoever with both Guptill and Munro batting confidently.
Munro launched Lakmal for a four and six in the sixth over while Guptill got going with two consecutive boundaries off Isuru Udana. Both batsmen found the boundaries on a regular basis and Guptill smashed a fifty by mauling Udana over long on for a six. Munro nudged Thisara for a single to bring up his fifty and the match was sealed effortlessly in the 17th over. New Zealand have signalled their intent in this World Cup while for Sri Lanka, there will be plenty of soul-searching after such a disastrous start to the campaign.