Co-hosts start well at CWC
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):
Australia and New Zealand easily won the opening matches at the Cricket World Cup yesterday in an ideal start for the tournament co-hosts. Still to come: 47 more games and six weeks of competition before the title is decided.
In cold, blustery conditions at Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island, the Black Caps beat 1996 champions Sri Lanka by 98 runs. Sri Lanka won the toss and sent New Zealand in to bat, but soon regretted that decision when Brendon McCullum made 65 runs and Corey Anderson hit 75 from 46 balls to lift New Zealand to 331-6. Sri Lanka was all out for 233 in 46.1 overs, in reply.
Australia opened their campaign for a fifth World Cup title with a 111-run win over old rivals England, with all-rounder Mitch Marsh claiming five wickets to dent the English run chase after Aaron Finch scored 135 to set the home team on course for a total of 342-9 in front of 84,000 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"Everyone contributed," said Finch, who was voted player of the match. "It's a great feeling to get this first one out of the way and, hopefully, take a lot of momentum for the rest of the tournament."
England were all out for 231, with James Taylor finishing unbeaten on 98 in a bizarre finish. He was initially adjudged out lbw but had the decision overturned on review by the TV umpire, only for batting partner James Anderson to be given out - run out at the other end - also on review.
The tournament is being played in 14 cities across Australia and New Zealand. There will be 42 matches played in the group stage by the two seven-team pools, followed by quarter-finals and semi-finals before the March 29 title game.
Meanwhile, players at this year's World Cup have been given a video warning about match-fixing, and the featured athlete in the production is banned New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent.
"My name is Lou Vincent, and I am a cheat" is part of Vincent's warning to players and team officials.
Vincent, who appeared for about 30 seconds in footage, was banned for life last year by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The 35-year-old Vincent, who played 23 Tests and more than 100 limited-overs internationals, pleaded guilty to 18 match-fixing or spot-fixing charges involving matches he played for two English county teams. Eleven of the 18 offences carried life bans.