New Zealand flew off the blocks with before a resurgent Sri Lanka fought back through their spirit and zest to restore parity. There was event contest between bat and ball as the ICC World Cup 2015 turned out be an even contest for both teams. Here are three defining highlights that may have stood out during the innings. New Zealand, through Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson took the score to a massive 331 for six.
1. Brendon McCullum’s blitz: There was a lot of talk about the New Zealand ‘summer’, all of nine degrees and the hint of rain earlier in the game favouring the team bowling first. Once those massive, tattooed arms from Dunedin started to break away from the shackles, there was absolute carnage at the Hagley Oval. Lasith Malinga had a tough return to international cricket and was made to pay severely as 23 runs came off an over. The margin of error was marginal for the Lankans and McCullum was blazing away. Catch the Live Updates of the match here
2. Jeevan Mendis strikes back: When McCullum was going strong, there were times when the Lankans looked to the skies for some divine intervention. Just then, the comeback man for the Lankans took a wonderfully judged catch in at long on. Mendis’ job wasn’t done as his leg-spinners’ broke the partnership between Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. Dimuth Karunaratne deserves all the credit for Williamson’s wicket but Mendis deserves the praise for Ross Taylor’s wicket after the batsman was deceived in flight.
3. Corey Anderson’s finish: Corey Anderson started steadily but got into the contest in the last 10 overs. Over the last year or so, the last 10 overs have been integral in the Kiwis scoring big totals and it was the case yet again as Anderson grew in confidence and smashed the bowling around. His typical brutality took the score to a formidable 331 for six before he was dismissed off the last ball of the innings.