A strong all-round display from Corey Anderson helped New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 98 runs in their opening World Cup encounter which was played in Christchurch on Saturday.
Sri Lanka's captain, Angelo Mathews, won the toss and elected to bowl first, but the decision backfired, as a strong New Zealand batting outfit took Sri Lanka's bowling apart.
Brendon McCullum led from the front with a 111-run opening stand with Martin Guptill. New Zealand's captain attacked Sri Lanka's new ball bowlers, Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulesakara, from the start.
The eighth over of the match, bowled by Malinga, yielded 23 runs, as McCullum thumped three fours and a six. McCullum, Guptill and Kane Williamson were instrumental in setting up a solid platform for New Zealand to launch an attack in the end.
Anderson provided that fire-power in the dying overs. He began cautiously in the 34th over and played out the first two overs without a boundary, but then he switched gears and lofted Tillakratne Dilshan for a six over long on.
That was just the start though. Anderson relentlessly attacked all Sri Lanka's bowlers and clubbed eight fours and two sixes. The onslaught took his side's score from 193, when he entered the fray, to a massive 331 in their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka's openers, in reply, struggled to provide the early impetus needed for the chase. Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakratne Dilshan put on a 67-run opening stand in 13 overs. But following their departure and the dismissal of talisman Kumara Sangakkara, Sri Lanka struggled to keep pace with the daunting New Zealand total.
Anderson was instrumental with the ball as well and claimed two wickets to end Sri Lanka's quest for a win at 233 runs, 98 short of the target.
"It's nice to come back home and play in front of family and friends. I guess this World Cup is the stuff we dream of. There were more nerves than normal, but that is pretty cliché isn't it? You always want to do well for NZ. I always have a different plan when I go out to bat, and it turns out differently in the middle. We just wanted to turn that par total into a winning total. Brendon held me back for a little bit till the end, so it was good to get a bowl, but the other bowlers really set the tone, especially Dan who just took them out of the game," Anderson said after winning the Man-of-the-Match award.