If Colin Munro gets on a hot streak, the Black Caps will be hard to stop at the Cricket World Cup.

Munro's aggressive approach at the top of the order didn't quite deliver on its potential in 2018 but the swashbuckling opener was at his belligerent best against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Having made just 55 runs in his last six innings, Munro needed a score, and he delivered, crushing 87 off 77 balls as the Black Caps posted 319-7 in a 21-run victory.

It was a reminder of his immense promise in the context of this side - the man who can lift a batting unit from good to great, with nine ODIs remaining before the World Cup.

Advertisement

With Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor all world-class ODI batsmen with averages above 40, Munro is the luxury item, a mighty hitter who can be a devastating match-winner if he fires.

Even a quickfire 30 can have serious value in getting an innings off on the right foot, but performances like Saturday are even better, where he had the hosts rattling along at 150-2 after 25 overs, before he was run out in a mix-up with Taylor.

While frustrated to be run out while nearing a maiden ODI century, Munro was pleased with his innings, and never felt he was particularly out of form.

"Even in the UAE, I didn't get big scores, but I felt like I gave myself enough time to get in but was finding different ways to get out. There's no pattern - it's not like I was getting bowled all the time, so it was nice to get a few the other day and hopefully I can continue that now," said Munro.

After a run of low recent totals, Colin Munro was happy to score 87 against Sri Lanka on Saturday. Photo / Photosport
After a run of low recent totals, Colin Munro was happy to score 87 against Sri Lanka on Saturday. Photo / Photosport

The 31-year-old is one of the rare players who averages more in Twenty20s (33.60) than ODIs (26.17) and says he has had to tweak his approach to suit the format.

"In Twenty20, it's a bit of hit and fun. You can try and go from ball one, and if you do get out, that's the nature of the beast, but in one-day cricket, I found early on I just couldn't play the same way as in a Twenty20.

"It's 10 overs of powerplay - we can try get us off to a flier but sometimes that's not the case, [you have to] play to the conditions and the situation and what the team needs. You might lose a couple of early wickets and you've got to knuckle down and play the longer game. Otherwise, on a day when [Guptill] and I are both going, we could be 70, 80, 90 off the powerplay - who knows?

"We've got that blueprint to get 300-plus, and we've done that in the last couple of games by setting the top order up, and hopefully we can continue that again."

Advertisement

Guptill and Munro have alternated their effectiveness this series and haven't combined for a 50 partnership in nearly a year but they will get another chance at Saxton Oval in Nelson today.

The Black Caps are likely to give Doug Bracewell a game in the third and final ODI, and he'll need to bowl well, as Sri Lanka have shown enough with the bat in patches to be a threat.

Additionally, they have proven a deft hand in dead rubbers, thrashing England last year when down 3-0, and winning their last two encounters against South Africa after falling to a 3-0 series deficit.

"We saw what they can do - [Niroshan] Dickwella at the top of the order in the first game, and then Thisara Perera played a hell of a knock the other night," said Munro.

"They are dangerous - they've got match-winners throughout. We've got to be on top of our game and we've got to beat these guys."