New Zealand picked up its first victory of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, defeating Sri Lanka on Sunday by a score of 139-138.
New Zealand held a lead before the break and looked to have the fixture in hand, but Sri Lanka battled back to make the match close again. New Zealand ended up winning its ICC Champions Trophy opener by one wicket.
New Zealand’s Nathan McCullum had a huge impact on the result of Sunday’s fixture. In 52 minutes, he accounted for 32 of his team’s runs. That being said, it should come as no surprise that McCullum was named the Man of the Match, according to the official Twitter account of Cricket ICC:
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews said that his team did a good job bowling, but needed to score more, according to the Cricket ICC:
Despite the one-wicket victory, Sri Lanka and New Zealand each had trouble scoring. Of the four fixtures played through Sunday’s matchup, Sri Lanka and New Zealand combined for the lowest score of any of them.
Scoring more going forward is going to be essential to each team’s ICC Champions Trophy hopes. Another 138- or 139-run performance probably won't cut it in the upcoming fixtures considering every other team had at least 170 and India and South Africa each had more than 300.
New Zealand will take on Australia, who lost its first game to England, on Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 a.m. ET. Sri Lanka will try to avoid losing back-to-back fixtures on Thursday, June 13, at 8 a.m. ET when it takes on England.
Losing to England wouldn’t necessarily eliminate Sri Lanka, but it would greatly decrease its chances of advancing. If New Zealand can take down Australia, who lost 269-221 in its opener, it would be tough not to qualify for the next round at the ICC Champions Trophy.
Every fixture is vital to a team’s title hopes, and after Sunday’s matchup, it’s clear that New Zealand should be considered one of the big contenders to take home the crown. Sri Lanka’s second fixture will tell us a lot about what’s in store for the team going forward.
ICC Champions Trophy Points Table