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Henry, McCullum script big New Zealand win

Home side completes chase of 189 target with 29 overs and seven wickets in hand in first ODI against Sri Lanka

Henry, McCullum script big New Zealand win - Cricket News
Matt Henry took 4 for 49 in 10 overs to keep Sri Lanka to 188 before chasing down the target with seven wickets in hand.
Buoyed by a spirited bowling performance, New Zealand clinched the first of five One-Day Internationals against Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Christchurch on Saturday (December 26) to go 1-0 up in the series. 

Once the bowlers restricted Angelo Mathews’s men to 188 all out in 47 overs, Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill set up the chase as the home side raced to the target with 29 overs to spare.

Choosing to bat, the visiting side did not get off to the start it would have wished for, losing Danushka Gunathilaka in just the third over, caught by Luke Ronchi, the wicketkeeper, off Adam Milne’s bowling. 

Matt Henry, the right-arm medium pacer, took advantage of Gunathilaka’s early exit, adding to the pressure on the batting side with a disciplined attack, which eventually triggered a collapse.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (9) was his first victim, the batsman failing to connect a pull shot in the sixth over and top-edging it to Henry Nicholls, the debutant, at midwicket instead. With both openers back in the hut, it was up to Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne to steady the innings, but Thirimanne was trapped lbw off the fourth ball of Henry’s next over. Mathews, the captain, edged the very next ball to Tom Latham at second slip to leave Sri Lanka tottering at 23 for 4.

Henry’s deliveries were looking unplayable, and he used the conditions to his advantage, sending Chandimal back in the tenth over, caught at first slip by Ross Taylor, for his fourth wicket of the day. 

With half its side back in the hut, Sri Lanka looked in deep trouble. If it hadn't been for the two late partnerships – a sixth-wicket stand of 38 between Chamara Kapugedara and Milinda Siriwardana, followed by a face-saving seventh-wicket partnership of 98 between Siriwardana and Nuwan Kulasekara – it would probably have even struggled to get past the three-figure mark.

Siriwardana hit 66 off 82 balls, and Kulasekara registered his fourth ODI fifty to end on 58 to help their side set New Zealand a 189-run target.

Henry, with figures of 4 for 49, was the most successful bowler for New Zealand, while Doug Bracewell and Mitchell McClenaghan, who wrapped up the tail after Henry's initial burst, took five wickets between them.

It was expected to be an easy chase for New Zealand, who has a fantastic record at home in recent times, and McCullum, the captain, made it even easier, smashing 55 off just 25 balls, his hurricane knock studded with 11 fours and a six.

By the time he was dismissed in the 11th over, New Zealand already had 108 runs on the board. Latham, who came in for the injured Kane Williamson, joined Martin Guptill, batting sensibly and taking New Zealand within 25 runs of victory before succumbing to Dilshan’s offspin in an attempt to play a big shot. Latham was bowled for 18 off 15 deliveries.

Four balls later, Guptill perished for 79, with the scoreboard reading 164 for 3.

Nicholls and Taylor kept things simple, a four from Nicholls taking New Zealand past the target in just 21 overs.

The two sides will meet again at the same venue for the second ODI on Monday.

To view the full scorecard, please click here.

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