New Zealand Women beat Sri Lanka Women by nine wickets in the first match of the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 at County Ground in Bristol on Saturday, riding on a five-wicket haul by Holly Huddleston and an unbeaten century from Suzie Bates. Sri Lanka had been restricted to 188 for 9 in 50 overs and New Zealand went over the line with ease, in just 37.4 overs.
Chasing the modest target, Bates and Amy Satterthwaite put on an unbeaten 170 in just 194 balls for the second wicket, ensuring Sri Lanka had no chance to come back into the match. Bates made her eighth One-Day International hundred, finishing on 106 not out off 109 balls, while Satterthwaite was unbeaten alongside her with 78 off 103 balls.
Their chase was made easier thanks to Huddleston’s 5 for 35 in 10 overs that sent Sri Lanka crashing from 141 for 1 to 187 for 9 in the first innings. In New Zealand's innings, the early dismissal of Rachel Priest (2) would have given some hope to the Sri Lankans, but Bates and Satterthwaite had other plans, combining caution with aggression to chip away at the target. They hit 17 boundaries between them to keep New Zealand's pursuit on track, and Sri Lanka, despite using as many as eight bowlers, was powerless to stop Bates and Satterthwaite.
Sent in to bat in the first half, Sri Lanka got off to a steady start, with openers Nipuni Hansika and Chamari Polgampola stitching together a partnership of 49 off 14 overs. Hansika fell for 31 off 45 balls, caught by Anna Petersen off Amelia Kerr, but Chamari Atapattu then got together with Polgampola to keep the good work going.
The duo dragged their team's total to 141 for 1 by the 36th over, but that's when the floodgates burst open. Lea Tahuhu, the right-arm medium pacer, went past Atapattu's defence to end her knock of 53. She hit seven boundaries during her 66-ball stay in the middle.
Huddleston, the right-arm medium pacer, then got into the act. She first got rid off Polgampola (49 off 113 balls) two overs later, and the scoreboard suddenly read 147 for 4.
Shashikala Siriwardene, batting at No. 6, was the only other batter to hit a score in double figures (16 off 26) after that, as Huddleston ran through the middle and lower order to cripple Sri Lanka. Although Sri Lanka managed to bat out the full quota of overs, Huddleston’s strikes meant it couldn’t get to a competitive total.
New Zealand will move on to Derby to take on South Africa Women on Wednesday, while Sri Lanka remain in Bristol to play Australia Women, the defending champion, the following day.