World Cup 2019: NZ elects to field first against Sri Lankans as both teams playing first match

New Zealand won the toss and elected to field first against Sri Lanka as both teams open their ICC World Cup 2019 campaigns today (Saturday).

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The Black Caps reached the final four years ago for the first time after six semifinal defeats, only to be soundly beaten by Australia in Melbourne.

Kane Williamson has replaced the swashbuckling Brendon McCullum as captain but the core of the team that came so close in 2015 remains.

Since the last World Cup, New Zealand have risen as high as second in the world rankings but have also been beaten at home by South Africa, England and India.

New Zealand beat fancied India in their opening World Cup warm-up game before going down to the West Indies.

Former Kiwi paceman James Franklin is confident Williamson’s side can claim their first World Cup trophy.

“New Zealand are in a sweet spot. No one’s talking about us too much,” he said at the opening party of the 12th edition of the 50-over tournament.

“We’re forever the underdogs and that suits us quite well…. If we can get some form going over the next few weeks, there’s no reason why New Zealand couldn’t go on and win the World Cup.”

Taylor has been in breathtaking form in recent years in the one-day game, averaging over 60 in ODIs in 2017 and more than 90 last year.

Williamson, ranked 12th, and Martin Guptill, ranked 10th, are the other main dangermen in the New Zealand batting line-up

Trent Boult leads an impressive bowling attack, with Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee for company. Spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner offer useful variety.

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