If you take into account the fact there would have been nerves going into the match, a question mark over whether the side could continue its fantastic recent form and an awareness of the rising level of expectation among the cricketing public worldwide, then it really was the complete performance.
It is possible to argue that form at this stage of the tournament counts for nothing and that is true. After all, New Zealand started the 1992 event at home like a train before running out of steam.
But winning should always be the default position and you do need to be solid in this first stage, get the basics right and leave yourselves in as good order as possible going into the knock-out games.
I give a lot of credit for the win to the openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill, whose opening partnership of 111 in a touch over 15 overs did so much to settle any early butterflies in the Black Caps dressing room. McCullum instills such confidence in those around him and it really is a case of leading from the front.
To be ultra-critical, it is possible to argue the batsmen lost their way just a little in the middle of the innings when a total of around 360 or even more looked very possible.
But the reality is that the opposition is allowed to play well too, and Rangana Herath bowled very effectively indeed. However, with Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi’s hitting at the end, it gave the side a total that was over par from my perspective. Given Sri Lanka’s struggles in the One-Day International series between the two sides ahead of this tournament, 332 was always going to be a tough assignment to chase down for Angelo Mathews and his side.
In fact, I thought New Zealand’s bowlers put conditions into more realistic perspective. The pitch had a bit in it for the seamers, 270 was probably par for the course and so for the Black Caps attack to dismiss the opposition for 233 represented a huge credit to them.
I know Trent Boult (2-64) and Adam Milne (2-56) were relatively expensive in the context of Sri Lanka’s final score but given they both picked up wickets I have not got a problem with that. In fact, I do not think the New Zealand think-tank will have a problem with that either. That is their approach, that the best way to restrict a side is to take wickets, and that then allows Daniel Vettori – who was superb – to work his magic in the middle overs.
Now, of course, there needs to be some rapid refocusing by the captain and support staff to get ready for the next matches, against Scotland in Dunedin on Tuesday and then England in Wellington on Friday.
On paper, the Scotland match looks a straightforward assignment with a side bang in form up against a qualifier. But matches are never won on paper; they are won out on the ground.
It is a banana skin-type match where, if it was allowed to appear, complacency could be a danger, but I do not think McCullum and coach Mike Hesson will allow that sort of mindset to invade anyone’s thoughts.
Scotland, after all, come into the match off the back of a large win against fellow Associate side Ireland and a score in excess of 300 against the West Indies in the warm-ups, and in that latter encounter they really should have won before falling at the final hurdle.
They will go into Tuesday’s match with nothing to lose and will also know that during their acclimatisation tour of Australasia last year, they came very close to beating a near-full strength New Zealand one-day side at Lincoln, going down in the end by just one run.
The Scots are coached by Grant Bradburn, the former Black Caps spinner, and also have ex-England batsman Paul Collingwood as part of the support staff so they have plenty of know-how and experience behind the scenes.
It means New Zealand will have to completely focused, as they were against Sri Lanka, to make sure they do not slip up.
Because although the win at Hagley Oval was a great start, the reality is it is one game. So while I take heart and pleasure at the performance, we all know this is just a beginning, nothing more. 2015 © ICC Development (International) Limited