World Cup kicks off with wins for New Zealand, Australia

2015-02-14 14:55

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Australia and New Zealand easily won their opening matches at the Cricket World Cup today in an ideal start for the tournament co-hosts.

Still to come: 47 more games and six weeks of competition before the title is decided.

In cold, blustery conditions at Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, the Black Caps beat 1996 champions Sri Lanka by 98 runs.

Sri Lanka won the toss and sent New Zealand in to bat, but soon regretted that decision when Brendon McCullum made 65 runs and Corey Anderson hit 75 from 46 balls to lift New Zealand to 331-6. Sri Lanka were all out for 233 in 46.1 overs in reply.

“We know it’s early stages of the tournament ... and we’ve still got a long road to go down before we can start thinking of making the quarterfinals,” Anderson said.

He was correct – the quarterfinals begin on March 18.

Australia opened its campaign for a fifth World Cup title with a 111-run win over old rivals England, with allrounder Mitch Marsh claiming five wickets to dent the English run chase after Aaron Finch scored 135 runs to set the home team on course for a total of 342-9 in front of 84 000 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“Everyone contributed,” said Finch, who was voted player of the match. “It’s a great feeling to get this first one out of the way and hopefully take a lot of momentum for the rest of the tournament.”

England were all out for 231, with James Taylor ending unbeaten on 98 in a bizarre finish. He was initially adjudged out lbw but had the decision overturned on review by the TV umpire, only for batting partner James Anderson to be given out – run out at the other end – also on review.

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