CARDIFF • New Zealand begin their Cricket World Cup in style - a 10-wicket rout of Sri Lanka, after seamers Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson had skittled out the 1996 champions for 136 yesterday.
The right-left batting combination of openers Martin Guptill, with an unbeaten 51-ball 73, and Colin Munro, 58 not out, then went on to help 2015 runners-up Kiwis reach their target in fewer than 17 overs.
Earlier, skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bowl on a pitch so green it was indistinguishable from the outfield, and he was rewarded when Henry trapped Lankan opener Lahiru Thirimanne leg-before in the first over.
He stood out in the absence of senior paceman Tim Southee, who missed out owing to a calf injury, with his incisive pace and swing.
Henry (3-29), who conceded 107 runs in a warm-up match against West Indies last week, continued his resurgence to remove Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis in the ninth over to leave the opponents' middle order exposed at 46-3.
Fast bowler Ferguson (3-22) bagged three middle-order wickets as Sri Lanka finished with the lowest one-day international total at Sophia Gardens - below their own 138, also against the Kiwis, in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne led a mini recovery with an unbeaten 52 that took them past 100. But, apart from all-rounder Thisara Perera (27), he had no support from the lower order as they got ousted in 29.2 overs.
A day earlier, it was the Windies' pacemen who inspired a seven-wicket win over Pakistan at Trent Bridge and captain Jason Holder backed his aggressive pace attack to make a major impact at the Cup.
In a display evoking memories of the team's heyday in the 1980s, the Windies, led by Oshane Thomas, harassed Pakistan with fiery bouncers in bowler-friendly conditions to dismiss them for their second-lowest Cup total of 105.
Thomas finished with 4-27, while Holder and Andre Russell shared five wickets to send an early warning to their Cup rivals.
Chris Gayle then led the reply with 50 off 34 balls as the two-time champions reached 108-3 off just 13.4 overs.
"We just want to be aggressive with whoever we're playing against," said Holder.
"If you aren't picking up wickets, then you are never going to contain teams. We go through the players on the opposition and just try to formulate our plans."
He was particularly impressed with the contribution of all-rounder Russell, playing his first one-day international since last July and who returned after a revamp of their selection policy.
Russell removed opener Fakhar Zaman with a brutal bouncer that hit the batsman's helmet and crashed into the stumps, and soon after, had Haris Sohail caught behind with another vicious delivery.
"His spell had great impact. It started the slide for Pakistan," said Holder. "He's one of those players that will give you 110 per cent every time he steps up to the plate."
Russell is a doubt for the Australia match on Thursday, after limping off with an ongoing knee problem but he is confident of recovering in time.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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