New Zealand made an early statement of their fast-bowling strength at the 2019 World Cup, as Andrew Alderson reported in the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka
Match 3, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Sophia Gardens Cricket Ground, Cardiff
June 1, 2019
There were gasps as ground-staff unveiled a green mamba pitch but, by the time the match was completed in 45.3 overs, New Zealand had found an antidote to the venom. The toss was crucial, and their pace bowlers were hungry; few had more of an appetite than Henry. A late calf injury to Tim Southee had given him the chance to make up for figures of 9–0–107–2 during a warm-up game against West Indies, and he responded with three for 29 in seven unchanged overs, restricting Sri Lanka to 136.
The Pereras – Kusal and Thisara – had their moments, but opener and captain Karunaratne alone offered prolonged resistance. He made 52 off 84 balls, becoming the second player to carry his bat at a World Cup, after West Indies’ Ridley Jacobs against Australia at Old Trafford in 1999. No one else passed seven, while three New Zealanders – Henry, Ferguson and de Grandhomme – struck in their first over.
They were helped by fielders pursuing the ball as if it had scampered off with their wallet. Munro also seized on a late recall, as Henry Nicholls nursed a hamstring. He made 58 from 47 balls, alongside Guptill’s 73 from 51, in an unbroken stand of 137. Sri Lanka’s first ten-wicket defeat at a World Cup was New Zealand’s third such victory – a record.
First published in 2020 Wisden Almanack