Well-oiled New Zealand beat rusty Sri Lanka in World T20 tune-up
New Zealand 226 for 4 (Munro 67, Anderson 60*, Shanaka 2-48) beat Sri Lanka 152 for 7 (Thirimanne 41, Kapugedera 38, Milne 3-26) by 74 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Already he had hit the second-fastest fifty in Twenty20 against them. That was in January and Sri Lanka had not forgotten Colin Munro. In Auckland, Munro had bludgeoned the Sri Lankan bowlers on his way to the 14-ball fifty. On Thursday evening in Mumbai, Munro provided a few thousand spectators another treat, this time to a 21-ball fifty which included six sixes.
He had walked to the crease in the early part of the match after his captain Kane Williamson had hit straight into the hands of Chamara Kapugedera at cover. Off his fourth delivery Munro blasted a huge six into the lower tier of the North Stand behind long-on against Thisara Perera. This was followed by a brief lull as Martin Guptill took charge briefly and after nine overs New Zealand were a healthy 77 for 2.
In the next over, Munro turned the game on its head. Crouching into a customary low stance and patting his bat more like a baseball player than a batsman, Munro waited patiently for the Dasun Shanaka. Tall and well built he might be, but Shanaka is more medium than fast. The Wankhede pitch had shown no mercy for the fast bowlers, at least the Sri Lankan ones, till the New Zealand quicks later gave them a lesson in the art of bowling fast.
Shanaka's first delivery was fuller and Munro arched his bat backward before swinging it down and lofting a straight six to the left of the sightscreen. The next ball sailed straight over long-off into the photographers' rink, creating a flutter of anxiety among the snappers. Munro assumed his low squat position, patting his bat. Shanaka delivered wide and short outside off stump. Munro effortlessly cut high over point for a third consecutive six.
The crowd was raucous. Perera was pushed back to long-on. Shanaka changed to round the stumps. Munro stayed deep in his crease. Shanaka pitched a yorker-length delivery on the middle stump, but Munro clubbed a powerful six over cover.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and Perera rushed to muffle the young bowler's ears and remind him of sticking to the plan and not get nervous. A low full toss resulted in a single and robbed the crowd of the excitement of potentially watching the feat of six sixes. The Sri Lankan's agony only deepened as Corey Anderson, another left-hander, unleashed a ruthless flat batted drive for a straight four off the last delivery from Shanaka. The 29-run 10th over catapulted New Zealand past the 100-mark.
A straight six against offspinner Shehan Jayasuriya in the 11th took Munro to his fifty. But Munro had not finished yet and played his most telling stroke when he reverse swept Sachithra Senanayake powerfully high into the empty Vijay Merchant Pavilion in the 14th. Even though Munro departed next over trying to clear the straight boundary, Anderson took over and further flattened the already deflated Sri Lankans.
But by that point Munro's electric hitting transformed New Zealand's already healthy total to lay the platform for Anderson to get them past 200. Anderson, who shared a match-winning 41-ball 92-run partnership with Munro, could not believe the pair had hit a total of 12 sixes.
"He is a hell of a player," Anderson said of Munro. "He has been doing it domestically for a long time now. And he has taken his chance batting out in the summer and he has grown leaps and strides to becoming the No. 3 in the team. He is tough to bowl at when he is in that kind of form."
If Sri Lanka looked lost and dull in the field, New Zealand were accurate, active and dominant. Tim Southee and Anderson displayed seam and swing at good pace to make the opening combination of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal more circumspect.
Dilshan had his leg stump pushed back after he was trumped by a perfect late and quick inswinger from Anderson. Chandimal, who admitted he takes his time to get settled, was beaten by the extreme pace and movement of Adam Milne, who replaced Southee in the fourth over. The rest of the Sri Lankan batsmen, too, failed to make any impact.
Sri Lanka were not ready today. Sri Lanka were not ready for this well-oiled, well-dressed New Zealand. Sri Lanka were not bowling ready. Sri Lanka were not ready for extreme pace. Sri Lanka are not yet ready for the World Twenty20.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo