Karunaratne carries bat; NZ dismisses Sri Lanka for 136

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Opener Dimuth Karunaratne achieved the rare feat of carrying his bat through a Cricket World Cup innings, but his teammates offered little resistance as New Zealand dismissed Sri Lanka for 136 in 29.2 overs on Saturday.

The Black Caps, playing their first World Cup match since reaching the 2015 final, have so far dominated their group opener at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens.

Karunaratne finished 52 not out off 84 balls, including four boundaries. He was the first opener to carry his bat at the Cricket World Cup since Ridley Jacobs for the West Indies against Australia in 1999.

Karunaratne and Thisara Perera shared a 52-run partnership for the seventh wicket off 51 balls, combining after Sri Lanka slumped to 60-6. Thisara Perera hit the only two sixes for Sri Lanka and was out for a 23-ball 27 after holing out to Trent Boult off Mitchell Santner.

Sri Lanka was unable to cope with New Zealand's seam bowling, with Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson taking three wickets apiece.

Henry had a hat-trick opportunity after Kusal Perera (29) skied a catch to Colin de Grandhomme and Kusal Mendis went for a golden duck in the ninth over, caught brilliantly in the slips by Martin Guptill.

Three-time finalist Sri Lanka was well beaten in both of its warmup games against South Africa and Australia, and looks vulnerable at this tournament.

Karunaratne was recalled after four years out of the ODI lineup to lead the team but appeared the only truly comfortable batsman during the innings. His opening partner, Lahiru Thirimanne, spent considerably less time at the crease after Henry trapped him lbw on the second ball of the match.

That left Sri Lanka on 4-1 on a grass-tinged wicket in mostly sunny conditions after losing the toss and being sent in by New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.

Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, have played four ODIs at Sophia Gardens but are still hunting for their first win at the venue.

That wait looks likely to continue.


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