ICC CT17 WARM-UP REPORT: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
The final warm-up match saw New Zealand take on Sri Lanka under cloudy skies at Edgbaston. Following the abandonment of Australia vs Pakistan the previous day, the Edgbaston ground staff put a momentous effort in to get the square and pitch ready for the 1030am start. New Zealand won the toss and elected to field, but the BlackCaps were made to wait almost an hour for their breakthrough wicket, despite some smart bowling from Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
The Sri Lankan innings was largely built around Upul Tharanga, who played a cool and collected innings, ticking over at a run a ball and frustrating the New Zealand field. Tharanga and Mendis put together an elegant second wicket partnership, often playing towards the short boundary, and the pair amassed 98 runs together before Mendis was run out by Trent Boult.
As the skies brightened the Sri Lankan team continued to play well, Dinesh Chandimal went well with Tharanga and the pair added another 49 to the total before Tharanga was finally caught by Adam Milne on 110.
The BlackCaps weren’t able to build any real momentum post dismissing Tharanga. Kusal Perera joined Chandimal and the pair continued to build the Sri Lankan total and the Sri Lankans were 309-6 with 7 overs still to come. New Zealand looked like they were letting the game slip away from them.
The New Zealand field was noticeably sluggish, the over rate dropped to almost 11-overs-per-hour at one point and the BlackCap's bowling attack seemed to have no real urgency. By the end of 50 overs Sri Lanka were 356-8 in an inning that took over 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete.
New Zealand looked a different team in the second innings with Martin Guptill and Tom Latham swaggering out with a sense of purpose to lead the New Zealand chase from the front. The BlackCaps required a touch over 7 runs an over to chase down the Sri Lankan target and the pair set to work immediately on hacking away at the Sri Lankan score. The opening partners found the short boundary swiftly and often, when Latham fell New Zealand were 78-1 and looking very calm out in the middle.
Captain Kane Williamson came in to join opener Guptill, and the pair never looked in any danger of ever getting out... ever! Sri Lanka bowled well and fielded tightly, but Williamson and Guptill looked immovable and Sri Lanka simply couldn't find a breakthrough. The pair put on a second wicket partnership of 157 before Guptill retired out on 116. Williamson too retired out a few overs later on 44, leaving the BlackCaps just 94 runs to chase with 7 wickets and plenty of overs in hand.
The 5th wicket pair of Neil Broom and Corey Anderson chased down the remaining runs in a little under an hour without any real scares from the Sri Lankan field. Corey Anderson ended the chase in style as he smashed the final ball for 6 to reach his 50 from just 36 balls.
Despite the Sri Lankans missing some big names, notably Angelo Matthews and Lasith Malinga, New Zealand always looked in control of this fixture. With the warm-ups now over, no doubt all 8 teams will go up a gear and approach each fixture as a must-win game. The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is now about to begin for real and New Zealand may just be the team to watch in this tournament.