Seamers lead New Zealand to big win
New Zealand 108 for 2 (Mackay 39*, Bates 37) beat Sri Lanka 103 (Tahuhu 4-27, Ruck 3-16) by eight wickets
New Zealand began their Super Six campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. Their seamers set the stage for a big win after Sri Lanka were put in to bat and were dismissed for 103 in 42 overs. In four matches, this is the third time New Zealand have dismissed their opposition for a low score, after bowling South Africa out for 170 and Pakistan for 104 in their first two matches. New Zealand now have four points, after carrying forward two points from the first stage.
Opening bowlers Sian Ruck and Lea Tahuhu shared seven wickets between them and conceded merely 43 runs in their 20 overs. Nicola Browne, Morna Nielsen and Frances Mackay also kept the Sri Lankan batsmen under pressure, with Browne and Mackay being the most expensive bowlers at three per over.
The New Zealand seamers rocked and choked the Sri Lankan batsmen, making use of the slightly moist conditions in the morning. Ruck and Tahuhu bowled in tandem; Ruck swung the ball without giving any room to the batsmen and Tahuhu made them uncomfortable with her pace and bounce.
Tahuhu struck with her first ball, cleaning up Yasoda Mendis, who had played big knocks in Sri Lanka's two victories in the first round. Lanka were pushed to the back foot with that as their runs dried up for the next few overs. Deepika Rasangika broke a few shackles when she loosened up for three consecutive fours on both sides of the pitch in Tahuhu's third over. Chamari Atapattu, on the other hand, looked out of sorts, not able to open her account for 24 balls and was bowled by Ruck in the next over. Before Rasangika could swing her arms again, she was yorked by Tahuhu for 20. It soon became three wickets in three overs when the captain Shashikala Siriwardene flashed hard outside the off stump and Katie Perkins took a diving catch to her left at point, leaving Sri Lanka at 23 for 4.
What followed was a drought of runs for Sri Lanka. They managed only three runs in the next six overs, which included four maidens - three alone from Ruck.
Dilani Manodara and Sandamali Dolawatte faced roughed up by the seamers but they survived and took the score past 50 in the 22nd over. They could have been in a worse situation had the wicketkeeper Rachel Priest not dropped Dolawatte off Browne in the 18th over and not missed Manodara's stumping in the 21st over.
Manodara helped her team pick up the pace a little bit, driving and cutting Browne and left-arm orthodox Morna Nielsen for boundaries in consecutive overs. But the partnership was ended soon, when Tahuhu came back for her second spell and made Dolawatte give another catch to Perkins.
Eshani Kaushalya joined Manodara and had made only two runs when she called for a quick single after driving to mid-off but was run-out by the time she was sent back. Sri Lanka were struggling at 74 for 6 and Manodara eased some nerves again, taking the score from 74 to 86 in two overs. Offspinner Mackay ended her innings when a bit of extra bounce got the ball to touch her bat and fall into Priest's gloves. Weerakkody also edged one to Priest in the next over off Ruck, who finished with figures of 3 for 16 from her 10 overs.
Mackay and Tahuhu picked the last two wickets, restricting Sri Lanka to a modest total of 103. Tahuhu picked four wickets and bowled two maidens, and her economy in the tournament now stands at a parsimonious 2.94 from 35 overs.
Chasing 104, the New Zealand openers provided a strong start with a 71-run stand in 15 overs. Mackay started the innings with a firm cover drive for four off the first ball. She and Suzie Bates, the leading run-scorer in the World Cup so far, batted in good batting conditions under the sun. Bates struck six boundaries, driving and pulling the Sri Lankan bowlers during a knock of 37. Inoka Ranaweera provided some consolation for Sri Lanka, avoiding a 10-wicket loss. She struck twice in her third over, first getting Bates caught by Manodara behind the stumps and then catching Amy Satterthwaite off her own bowling. Sophie Devine made the job easier for New Zealand with a quickfire 29, sealing the win with a six in the 23rd over.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo