Seamer Trent Boult and spinner Mitchell Santner landed timely blows as New Zealand restricted Sri Lanka to 171 in their ICC World Cup encounter at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday.
A big win for New Zealand will put them in a strong position to bag the last semi-final spot and join India, South Africa and Australia, while Sri Lanka need a victory to boost their chances of a top-eight finish for 2025 Champions Trophy qualification.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson's decision to bowl after winning the toss paid off early as pacemen Boult (3-37) and Tim Southee (1-52) ripped through Sri Lanka's top-order to leave them in trouble at 32-3 inside five overs. Kusal Perera, who was dropped on zero by Tom Latham in the second over, punished New Zealand with a 22-ball fifty but lost another partner as Boult trapped Charith Asalanka lbw to turn the screws on the 1996 champions.
A fit-again Lockie Ferguson (2-35) struck in his second over to dismiss the aggressive Perera for 51 as Sri Lanka crumbled to 70-5 before folding in the 47th over for a modest total after Santner (2-22) and Rachin Ravindra (2-21) joined the party.