Fleming finds form in NZ win

New Zealand bounced back from their surprising loss to Bangladesh earlier in the week with an 18-run win over Sri Lanka in their final warm-up match today. After scoring an imposing 285-8, the New Zealanders restricted Sri Lanka to 267 thanks to effective bowling by Scott Styris and Shane Bond.

Sri Lanka, the team considered favourites to win the World Cup by many, including New Zealand coach John Bracewell, will not be happy with the fact that they conceded such a large total on a pitch widely considered to be slow, low and bowler-friendly. Even more worrying for the Sri Lankans is the surprising ineffectiveness of Muttiah Muralitharan, who finished with 1-64 from ten. New Zealand meanwhile will be pleased with the form of Lou Vincent, who scored 70, Peter Fulton, 59, and particularly Stephen Fleming, who showed some signs of rediscovering his form in his innings of 65.

The loss will be painful for Sri Lanka but slightly comforting will be the form of opener Upul Tharanga, who scored a magnificent 106 and dominated an opening partnership of 115 with Marvan Attapattu of which the latter only contributed 24. The rest of the batting lineup failed to offer significant support though, with Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Farveez Maharoof and Tillakaratne Dilshan all failing to reach 20.

Scott Styris proved himself to be very effective in the conditions, finishing with a very tidy 2-44 from ten, while Shane Bond made up for disappointing against Bangladesh with the wickets of both openers.

New Zealand have now put the Bangladesh defeat out of their minds and head with slightly more confidence into their match against England next Saturday while Sri Lanka meet Bermuda on Thursday.

New Zealand 285-8
Lou Vincent 70, Stephen Fleming 65, Peter Fulton 59
Lasith Malinga 2-26

New Zealand won by 18 runs.

Sri Lanka 267
Upul Tharanga 106, Chamara Silva 40
Scott Styris 2-44

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