England vs New Zealand: In the grand toss decision, England emerged victorious and opted to take the batting stance as their opening strategy. The initial innings witnessed a promising commencement, marked by the formidable partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, accumulating a century for the premier wicket.
Alas, the tides shifted as subsequent wickets tumbled at consistent intervals, concluding their batting display at 282 within the allotted 50 overs.
New Zealand 283 for 1 beat England 282 for 9 by nine wickets
England kick off World Cup with a thrashing by Conway and Ravindra
The opening clash of the 2023 World Cup didn’t serve as immediate retribution for the 2019 World Cup final, but New Zealand orchestrated a compelling narrative with a resounding nine-wicket triumph over England in the Ahmedabad curtain-raiser.
The defending champions were handed a comprehensive defeat, potentially one of the most emphatic beatings of the tournament.
The pursuit of a challenging target of 283 turned into a clinical display, culminating with an astounding 82 balls to spare. The catalysts behind this dominance were the dynamic left-handed duo, Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra.
Conway’s unbeaten 152 and Ravindra’s unbeaten 123, marking their fifth and inaugural ODI centuries, respectively, dismantled records. Conway notably shattered Martin Guptill’s 88-ball record for the fastest 50-overs World Cup century, achieving the feat in just 83 balls. Not to be outdone, Ravindra eclipsed that, becoming the youngest centurion for New Zealand in a global tournament at the age of 23.
These Wellington teammates now hold the record for the Blackcaps’ highest partnership in the tournament’s history.
England vs New Zealand Highlights
The unbroken 273-run partnership, commencing at the outset of the second over with Sam Curran dismissing Will Young for a first-ball duck down the leg side, unfolded as a truly remarkable feat.
This marked the culmination of jeopardy, paving the way for Kiwi dominance in the fastest pursuit of a 250-plus target in World Cup history. The boundary count tilted decisively in favor of the Kiwis, registering 38 compared to England’s 27.
At the midway point, the defending champions appeared to have set a competitive total. Joe Root’s resilient 77 contributed to stitching together a score of 282 for 9, following Tom Latham’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
However, the batting effort was marred by a stuttering rhythm, largely attributed to the impactful performances of Matt Henry, claiming figures of 3 for 48, and Mitchell Santner, who conceded only 37 runs in his 10 overs without conceding a single boundary a feat not achieved against England since Kuldeep Yadav in July 2018.
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Conway’s prowess in this format is undisputed, and this marks his fourth century in the current year alone. His previous century came in a similarly one-sided encounter against England in Cardiff at the beginning of September.
As for Ravindra, this century stands as his maiden international hundred outright, especially noteworthy given his placement in the top five. Prior to this, he had only surpassed fifty once.
Ravindra’s inclusion in the XI served not only to maintain bowling balance but also to afford Kane Williamson additional recovery time from a ruptured ACL sustained six months ago during the opening match of the IPL.
It was a neat turn of events when his expensive 10 overs with the ball, costing 76 runs, aligned with him reaching the same number of runs off 60 deliveries.
Conway made a bold statement from the outset, driving the first ball of the chase through point off Chris Woakes. However, Curran’s early breakthrough, coupled with his two maidens from the start, hinted at a challenge for the Kiwis.
By the 35th over, Curran became mere fodder for Conway’s brilliance, as he plundered 20 runs, including a six over wide long-on and a duo of fours through the field. His 22nd and final boundary, a forceful four through square leg off Liam Livingstone in the next over, propelled him to an impressive 150 off 119.
Ravindra’s shotmaking displayed precision from the outset, notably exemplified by his flat six over square leg from a Mark Wood delivery clocking at 148kph, bringing up the team fifty in just 6.5 overs.
Wood’s first over went for 17, and his initial three overs for 38, nullifying one of Jos Buttler’s potential difference-makers. England’s decision to introduce Adil Rashid, the fifth bowler, after 12 overs reflected the need for a change in fortunes, but the anticipated shift never materialized.
Even the cameo appearance of Ben Stokes during the initial drinks break at 17 overs failed to alter the course of the match. The Lord’s hero was present merely to provide counsel, sidelined from selection due to a hip issue.
His non-bowling role in this tournament implies that his inclusion might not have been a game-changer. Even one of his renowned miracles might have only mitigated the margin of defeat.
England’s batting display had several junctures that hinted at a potential score surpassing the 282 for 9 they ultimately managed in their 50 overs. In a first for an ODI innings, all 11 batters reached double figures, yet the absence of substantial fifty-plus partnerships was evident, with the most notable being a 70-run collaboration between Root and Buttler, concluding with the latter’s unsuccessful attempt at guiding Henry down to third man.
Henry’s initial breakthrough saw the removal of Dawid Malan, a fitting reward for an exceptional opening spell. However, it was Jonny Bairstow at the opposite end who posed a more significant threat.
In the second ball of the match, delivered by Trent Boult, Bairstow elegantly flicked it beyond square leg, initiating England’s tally of six sixes, with Bairstow contributing 31 of the 50 amassed in the powerplay.
Bairstow’s departure at the close of the 13th over marked the beginning of a sequence of strategic moves executed by New Zealand’s slower bowlers.
Santner spearheaded this approach, luring Bairstow into attempting an aerial shot over cover, only for the lofted drive to veer off course and find Daryl Mitchell stationed at long-off.
The half-century materialized from 57 deliveries, marking a resurgence for a player who, just last month, struggled with an average of 9.75 at home against the same opponents over a four-match series.
When Buttler joined the fray with his characteristic flair, the fifth-wicket partnership seemed tailor-made for the situation at hand.
However, the optimism was short-lived as both departed by the start of the 42nd over, with Root being the second to fall in a collapse that saw England lose four wickets for 31 runs.
The final duo of Wood and Rashid salvaged an unbroken 30-run stand, representing England’s highest 10th-wicket partnership in seven years.
Despite their commendable efforts, the team seemed to fall short by more than 100 runs. Consequently, their pride and net run rate suffered a significant blow.
The last instance of conceding more than the 81 for 1 in the first 10 overs occurred in 2015 when Brendon McCullum-inspired Blackcaps plundered 116 runs. While England has evolved significantly since then, this defeat echoed moments reminiscent of those darker times.