AUCKLAND: Right-hand medium pacer Henry Shipley claimed a five-wicket haul as New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 198 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series. This is the biggest win by Black Caps over Sri Lanka (in terms of runs) in men's ODIs.
Shipley's brilliant effort of 5-31 and two wickets apiece claimed by Daryl Mitchell (2-12) and Blair Tickner (2-20) helped New Zealand bowl out Sri Lanka for 76 in 19.5 overs after posting 274 in 49.3 overs on being asked to bat first.
With this win, New Zealand have topped the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League standings. They have 160 points from 22 games. If they manage a 3-0 sweep in the series, they will overtake Australia, to go No. 1 in the ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings.
Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka took the field after winning the toss. New Zealand got going on the back of crucial top-order contributions from Finn Allen (51) and co. Despite losing a flurry of wickets in the middle overs, the Kiwis got to 274 with the help of some lower-order hitting from Glenn Phillips (39) and Rachin Ravindra (49).
Chamika Karunaratne was the pick of Sri Lanka bowlers with his 4-43.
Sri Lanka's top order was wrecked, thanks to a destructive spell from fast bowler Shipley. They lost half their side in the first 10 overs and never recovered, eventually getting bowled out for 76.
This was their heaviest loss against New Zealand by the margin of runs (in this format) and the fifth-heaviest defeat overall.
This loss further jeopardises Sri Lanka's quest for a direct qualification. They are placed 10th in the Super League standings, with 77 points and two more games to play.
Only the top eight sides in the Super League get a direct qualification to the World Cup, which will take place later this year in India.
Even if Sri Lanka win the next two ODIs in the series, they will have to bank on other results for direct qualification.
New Zealand 274 all out in 49.3 overs (Finn Allen 51, Rachin Ravindra 49, Daryl Mitchell 47, Glenn Phillips 39; Chamika Karunaratne 4-43, Kasun Rajitha 2-38, Lahiru Kumara 2-45) beat Sri Lanka 76 all out in 19.5 overs (Angelo Mathews 18; Henry Shipley 5-31, Daryl Mitchell 2-12) by 198 runs.