Sri Lanka’s Struggles Against New Zealand Bowling Attack
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — In a remarkable display of bowling prowess, Harry Shipley claimed 5-31 as Sri Lanka capitulated for a meager 76 runs, losing the first one-day international against New Zealand by a comprehensive 198-run margin.
New Zealand, batting first on the drop-in pitch at Eden Park, set a target of 274. The Sri Lankan team, in response, recorded their lowest-ever ODI total against New Zealand and the fifth-lowest in all one-day internationals.
Early Collapse and Sri Lankan Misfortune
Sri Lanka’s innings quickly unraveled, losing their first two wickets at 14 runs, followed by the third wicket at 20, and the fourth and fifth wickets at 31 within the first 10 overs. The state of their batting became even bleaker when, during a break after 14.2 overs, the match paid tribute to the victims and heroes involved in Cyclone Gabrielle, which wreaked havoc on New Zealand’s North Island on Feb. 14. At that point, Sri Lanka’s score stood at a dismal 49-7.
As the match progressed, Sri Lanka continued to lose wickets at regular intervals. The team was eventually bundled out for a paltry 76 runs in just 19.5 overs, marking the second-lowest one-day international total at Eden Park. Angelo Mathews, making his return to ODI cricket after a two-year hiatus, was among the only three Sri Lankan batsmen to reach double figures.
Shipley Shines Brightly in New Zealand’s Victory
Sri Lanka’s downfall began in the sixth over when their first wicket fell due to a runout. Harry Shipley’s fantastic delivery to opener Pathum Nissanka not only shattered his wickets but also made a strong statement about Shipley’s bowling prowess. Shipley continued to make an impact by dismissing Kusal Mendis (0), Charith Asalanka (9), Chamika Karunaratne (11), and captain Dasun Shanaka, who was dismissed for a first-ball duck.
“It was pretty cool, not what I was expecting to do when I came to the ground,” Shipley humbly expressed. “The batters said there was enough there, and the score we had on the board was going to be tricky, so that gave us confidence to go out there and do that.”
New Zealand’s Decent Total and Unfulfilled Potential
While New Zealand’s innings concluded at 274 runs, it was not considered a massive score by Eden Park’s standards. Finn Allen top-scored with 51 runs, and Rachin Ravindra showcased his talent with 49 runs on his debut, contributing to what seemed like a moderate total.
Despite a promising start, with opener Chad Bowes smashing a boundary off the first ball of his international career, New Zealand’s momentum slowed down when they lost three wickets for 44 runs after reaching 108-2 in the 19th over. The team couldn’t entirely recover from this setback.
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Sri Lanka’s World Cup Hopes Rest on Next Matches
Sri Lanka desperately needed to win all three matches in the current series to enhance their chances of qualifying directly for the 50-over World Cup in India later this year. Meanwhile, New Zealand has already secured their spot in the tournament.
The teams are scheduled to play the second match of the three-game series on Tuesday in Christchurch, followed by the final game in Hamilton next Friday. The ODI series will then be followed by three Twenty20 matches.
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Image credit: AP Cricket