Five things we learned from the Black Caps opening Cricket World Cup match

Four days is a long time in cricket:

Matt Henry endured a terribly unhappy time in the final warm-up match in Bristol, taking the brunt of the West Indies' power hitting to finish with 2-107 from nine overs.

At that point, he seemed destined to carry the drinks in Cardiff. Four days later Tim Southee's calf complaint offers Henry a reprieve and seizes the chance to lead the attack with 3-29 in a man of the match spell.

Conditions were, admittedly, much more favourable at Sophia Gardens but Henry still had to hit the troubling line and lengths to exploit movement. Pitches will continue to vary but in this performance, Henry showed the benefits of his recent stint at Kent.


He found strong support from Lockie Ferguson's pace and bounce, and Colin de Grandhomme, with his amble and gentle nibble away. The trio all struck in their first overs as Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 14 runs.

Strangely Trent Boult, so impressive in the two lead in games, was the one to struggle for consistency.

Dejected Sri Lanka players leave the field. Photo / Getty
Dejected Sri Lanka players leave the field. Photo / Getty

Sri Lanka are in disarray:

Swatted aside 3-0 in the ODI series in New Zealand five months ago, Sri Lanka could well go on to contest the World Cup wooden spoon.

Sure this was a dominant start that boosts net run-rate but the Black Caps would do well to keep confidence in check.

Sri Lanka are not a good, let alone great, team. Much tougher tests await. Even the game-changing Angelo Mathews, who oddly came in at six, seems out of sorts.

Openers do the business:

On one hand, it's difficult to read too much into Martin Guptill and Colin Munro setting their highest opening ODI partnership.

Chasing a paltry total the pressure was almost completely removed. Their timing wasn't always there, and neither really got out of second gear yet both complied brisk half centuries.

Sri Lanka's attack were also guilty of bowling too short. When it comes to batting, though, nothing replaces time in the middle and confidence that comes from scoring runs.


Guptill is so crucial to New Zealand's hopes but Munro will be especially relieved with this, his first 50 in 18 ODIs, easing pressure.

Given Munro's shaky form prior to this knock, Henry Nicholls seemed odds on to get the nod to partner Guptill, only for a hamstring injury to intervene. Gary Stead and Kane Williamson now face difficult selection decisions.

Martin Guptill pulls the ball to the boundary for four runs. Photo / Getty
Martin Guptill pulls the ball to the boundary for four runs. Photo / Getty

Pressure will come:

Bangladesh and Afghanistan pose interesting spin tests next up for the Black Caps but they should, really, be three-from-three come the end of this week.

One game in and they're yet to be put under pressure, having been in control from the second ball in Cardiff when Henry nabbed his first wicket.

For that reason, this team is yet to answer plenty of questions. When conditions don't suit can they halt runs? Can Munro be relied on at the top against quality pace? Will Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme stand up when it matters most?

All shall be revealed, just maybe not this week.

The Black Caps, World Cups and Cardiff go together like the Welsh and fake tans:

Twenty years ago New Zealand stunned Australia, eventual champions, with a five-wicket victory at the 1999 World Cup.

Geoff Allott took 4-37 and Roger Twose finished 80 not out.

Sophia Gardens hasn't always been a happy hunting ground since but, once again, come the World Cup, the Black Caps turn it on to steamroll Sri Lanka.

If only the rest of the tournament was staged here.