A high-scoring game here! But in the end, you can say the difference between the two teams was the James Neesham burst at the end of the first innings. 372 was always going to be a little too much for the visitors to chase and even though they had good partnerships and top 3 batsmen playing well, one would have always backed the Kiwis because a couple of wickets was all that was needed to sky-rocket the required rate. And that's exactly what happened.
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The Lankan chase began superbly with a 100-plus run partnership for the opening wicket. Both the left-handed openers did really well but both fell in quick succession. Kusal Perera who came in at number 3 played a magnificent knock and got to his century but it was in a losing cause as wickets were falling around him and he didn't have much help from others. Once he departed, the game was all but over. In the end, the runs conceded in the final few overs of the first innings came to haunt the Lankans. Maybe 30 runs less and the story could have been completely different.
Earlier in the afternoon, New Zealand got to 372 on the back of a century from comeback man Guptill and quickfire knocks from Ross Taylor and James Neesham. The latter was devastating with his knock of 47 off just 13 balls. He would later come onto the bowl and pick up 3/38 as well. Thus, all in all it was a more complete performance from NZ that saw them trump the Island nation here today.
Sri Lanka skipper, Lasith Malinga says that they didn't bowl too many wicket-taking deliveries and they have to analyze that and come back hard. Adds that they will be playing on the same surface again in the second ODI and they have to work on their variations. Feels that all the players realize that they are not bowling well. He is happy with the batting as they got good partnerships going and hopes to do even better in the next game.
Man of the Match, Martin Guptill says that he is really happy with the outing he had with the bat. Informs that he played in the T20 Leagues in West Indies and England and has worked hard to get back in the team. States that it's been quite frustrating past few months for him, struggling with injuries but everything has settled down and his body is feeling pretty good. Adds that he lost his rhythm a couple of times today but overall it was a good outing for him and his team.
Victorious New Zealand skipper, Kane Williamson says that it was a good surface and the outfield was very quick. Also adds that the wind was also a factor. Mentions that both sides played really competitive cricket and admits that it was tough for the bowlers. Feels that they need to get a bit smarter with the ball and hit the right areas and pick wickets to build scoreboard pressure. Further mentions that the effort was there and a lot of credit goes to Sri Lanka for the way they batted. On Guptill returning, Williamson says that he is a world class player and his knock helped them set the platform. Praises the likes of Neesham, Taylor and Nicholls who pushed the total further which was crucial. On Neesham's all-round show, Kane terms it as the match-changing performance.