Leaders in their field: New Zealand sweat the small stuff in big win

These were blink-and-miss it snatches in a match which will be remembered for New Zealand’s bold statement in CWC19. A scan of ESPNcricinfo’s commentary and scoring teams found that there were no misfields or overthrows from New Zealand during the Sri Lanka innings. The only chance put down was Thisara Perera off Mitchell Santner, a grazer off Tom Latham’s glove which was parried towards mid-off. New Zealand may have started with the good fortune of winning the toss on a green one, and they were never under pressure in the match. But all through, they certainly fielded like they were, where every run conceded marked a step away from where they want to go.

Fielding of such a standard is almost a non-negotiable in World Cups. Guptill said later that the event had “great fielding sides all over the place… If you can be one of the top two or three of the best fielding teams in the competition you can save a lot of runs and go a long way to winning the competition.” New Zealand’s group draw gives them Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before they meet India in Nottingham on June 13. By that time, if they are only a couple of wins away from a semi-final spot, it is the small, forgettable stuff of the kind we saw on Saturday in Cardiff, that will have taken them that far.