New Zealand 189 for 1 (Bates 106*, Satterthwaite 78*) beat Sri Lanka 188 for 9 (Atapattu 53, Polgampola 49, Huddleston 5-35) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
New Zealand had never lost to Sri Lanka in nine previous ODI meetings. They had bowled Sri Lanka out for under 150 in eight of those games. For a while on Saturday in Bristol, they may have wondered if the tide had turned. Chamari Atapattu and Chamari Polgampola put together 92 for the second wicket as Sri Lanka progressed serenely to 141 for 1. Then, a moment of brilliance on the field from Suzie Bates - a tumbling catch low to her left to see off half-centurion Atapattu - triggered an alarming slide. Sri Lanka lost eight wickets for 46 and eventually huffed and puffed to 188 for 9. It was inadequate against a power-packed batting line-up.
Starring with the ball was Holly Huddleston, the medium-pacer, whose use of the crease, angles and subtle changes in pace fetched her a five-wicket haul - her third in ODIs - on World Cup debut. "To start off like that was obviously a dream come true," she said. "I just wanted one or two [wickets]. I would've been happy with that and then they just kept coming which was awesome."
Huddleston did not play a single game for New Zealand between September 2014 and October 2016 and she took a little time out to explain how she had worked her way back to international cricket.
"Being dropped was obviously hard to take. But I kind of looked at myself and said, 'okay, what do I need to do to get back into the team?' and fitness was one of them and I worked really hard on my fitness and then I wanted to play more cricket so went to Middlesex last year and this year and having more game time and having Sanjay Patel, who was the coach, he really just brought the enthusiasm back to my bowling which has obviously sparked my return back to the White Ferns."
After her bowlers had set up a small chase, Bates blasted a century during the course of an unbroken second-wicket stand of 170 with Amy Satterthwaite as New Zealand cruised to an emphatic nine-wicket win in the 38th over.
Apart from being lacklustre with the ball, Sri Lanka were poor in the field, with wicketkeeper Prasadini Weerakkody reprieving Bates on 65 off Shashikala Siriwardena. Inoka Ranaweera, the captain, employed as many as seven bowlers; only Sripali Weerakkody managed to come back with something of note, stifling two in-form batsmen briefly with her mix of seam-up and fast offspin to finish with figures of 6-0-17-0.
While Huddleston was the pick of New Zealand's bowlers, the 16-year-old Amelia Kerr was equally impressive with her loopy legspin. The degree of control she maintained, even when Atapattu and Polgampola going strong, shone through on a flat deck where the batsmen had no hesitation in hitting through the line.
Sophie Devine, the allrounder, played no less a role with the ball, breaking the second-wicket stand to expose an anxious middle-order that came out playing million-dollar strokes when Sri Lanka needed a period of consolidation. They ended up losing four wickets for eight runs in 27 balls.
New Zealand lost Rachel Priest in the sixth over, but Bates, cautious initially, found her bearings to muscle 11 fours and a six in a near run-a-ball knock. Satterthwaite bossed the bowling as well, before retreating to watch from the other end as her captain gunned down the target in her quest for an eighth ODI century.
"In the lead up to this, I hadn't felt that great out in the middle and I just wanted to be patient and wait for the ball," Bates said. "There's a lot we can improve on; I thought Sri Lanka batted really well early on and whenever we gave them any width they put it away.
"But the way we came back with the ball was really pleasing to keep them below 200, then to get the target with just one wicket down will give us some momentum."
Sri Lanka captain Ranaweera admitted her team had a few holes to plug. "We didn't want to bat first but we lost the toss and New Zealand made it hard for us. Our batting, bowling and fielding all needs to improve before the next game."