Group A: New Zealand 139-9 beat Sri Lanka 138 all out by 1 wicket
New Zealand edged over the line in an enthralling encounter at Cardiff to beat Sri Lanka by just one wicket.
In an all-action affair, Kyle Mills struck with the first ball of the match as Sri Lanka were skittled out inside 38 overs. The Kiwis almost suffered the same fate by clung on with the last pair seeing the team home.
Sri Lanka were reduced to 34-4 in the ninth over, with some aggressive batting from Tillakaratne Dilshan, before he was clean bowled through the gate for 20.
Mahela Jayawardene (4) came and went, as did captain Angelo Mathews (9) with only three batsmen made it to double figures.
Kumar Sangakkara (68) held the innings together with eight fours, but once he lost his wicket, the rest of the team quickly followed.
Mitchell McClenaghan, who impressed in the recent One Day Series against England, continued his fine form with 4-43 from eight overs. Kyle Mills (2-14) swung the ball beautifully and claimed the wicket of Mathurage Perera with the very first ball of the day.
Daniel Vettori also claimed 1-16 from six on his return to the International scene after 11 months away with an Achilles injury.
The Black Caps made heavy work of their reply, losing wickets at regular intervals. The batsmen will have no shame losing their wicket to Lasith Malinga (4-34), as arguably the world’s best one-day bowler ripped through the team.
Martin Guptill (25) gave the innings a solid platform chasing just 139 on a lively, bouncing wicket, but once he was out a host of team mates followed, including skipper Brendon McCullum (18).
His brother, Nathan, did mange to keep the scoreboard ticking and hold up an end as wickets tumbled at the other, scoring 32 runs.
Malinga’s burst then left number 11 McClenaghan to face three balls as Tim Southee (13*) finished the game in incredible circumstances.
New Zealand are becoming a force on the one-day scene, after winning the competition in 2000, they were semi-finalists in 2006 and runners-up in the last tournament four years ago. They have already beaten England this summer and amazingly won here after dismissing Sri Lanka for the lowest ODI total at Cardiff.
Sri Lanka came close to achieving the lowest defence of a total in an ODI in England and Wales but were made to pay for another dire batting display at Cardiff, scene of their 82 all out on the final afternoon of the first Test against England in May 2011.
New Zealand face off with Australia at Edgbaston on June 12th, before England play Sri Lanka on June 13th at The Oval.
Sri Lanka 138 all out (37.5 overs)
Sangakkara 68; McClenaghan 4-43, Mills 2-14, N McCullum 2-23
New Zealand 139-9 (36.3 overs)
N McCullum 32, Guptill 25; Malinga 4-34, Eranga 2-45
Man of the Match: Mitchell McClenaghan (4-43)