White Ferns wallop Sri Lanka to kick off World Cup

In Bristol, 2000 champion New Zealand eased to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Sri Lanka to open up their bid for the ICC Women’s World Cup title in fine style.

Chamari Polgampala (49) and Chamari Athapaththu (53) gave Inoka Ranaweera’s side an ideal foundation to kick on at 141 for one with 15 overs remaining, but once the latter fell a flurry of wickets followed.

Sophie Devine forced the crucial breakthrough that turned the innings, as her slower ball was spooned by Athapaththu to skipper Suzie Bates at extra cover.

Polgampala was next to go despite bringing up her 1000th career ODI run shortly before, as Sri Lanka stuttered and lost five wickets for just 15 runs.

Holly Huddleston produced a stunning second spell for the White Ferns to finish with figures of five for 35 to restrict Sri Lanka to just 188 for nine from its 50 overs.

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And despite losing opener Rachel Priest early on as she was trapped in front by Chandima Gunaratne, New Zealand’s experienced pairing of Bates and Amy Satterthwaite delivered the goods.

Bates brought up a magnificent century off 107 balls, eventually finishing on 106 not out as she and Satterthwaite (78 not out) stayed well ahead of the rate to see New Zealand home with 12.2 overs to spare.

Huddleston said: “It’s a dream come true for me of course; to get five in my first World Cup game is really special.

“To begin with I bowled a little too much two lines and two lengths, but I managed to bring it back quite nicely through the middle there.

“We went out to bat with the idea to keep playing our brand of cricket. It’s really important to get off with a win and take the two points away from today’s game, and now hopefully we can start building some momentum.”