The eagerly anticipated world cup 2023 finally kicked off with a repeat of last edition’s final. The defending champion England is a well balanced side with a pool of talented all-rounders. The last two tournament’s runners-up New Zealand have been one of the consistent performers at the world stage. Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was the venue of the first of 48 games that will be played over the next 45 days.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson missed out due to an ACL injury. England decided to keep their star all-rounder Ben Stokes out of the team for the sake of team combination.
- Jonny Bairstow 2. Dawid Malan 3. Joe Root 4. Harry Brook 5. Moeen Ali 6. Jos Buttler (Cap.) (WK) 7. Liam Livingstone 8. Sam Curran 9. Chris Woakes 10. Adil Rashid 11. Mark Wood
- Devon Conway 2. Will Young 3. Rachin Ravindra 4. Daryl Mitchell 5. Tom Latham (Cap.) (WK) 6. Glenn Phillips 7. Mark Chapman 8. James Neesham 9. Mitchell Santner 10. Matt Henry 11. Trent Boult
Standing Kiwi captain Tom Latham won the toss and decided to bowl first.
|Venue||The opening game of the 2023 World Cup was played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.|
|Date||The game started at 02:00 pm IST on Thursday, Octobor 5.|
Captaincy & Tactics
The English wasted no time in showing their intent with 12 runs from the first four balls. Johnny Bairstow flicked the second delivery of the match towards the square leg region for a massive six.
Tom Latham’s decision to introduce Mitchell Santner on the seventh over turned out to be a masterstroke since the left arm spinner reined in the flow of runs. Latham used his bowlers well to break up partnerships in regular intervals. His aggressive use of two frontline seam bowlers should also not be overlooked. Tom Latham played all his cards right and New Zealand restricted the England power-hitters to bare minimum.
Rachin Ravindra was promoted up the order once again after a successful trial run against Pakistan in the warm up game. The young all-rounder repaid the faith with a scintillating maiden hundred. Josh Buttler’s bowlers let him down on numerous occasions throughout the whole duration of the game in face of a New Zealand batting demolition.
Joe Root fought hard but could not find any suitable partner to get England over the 300 mark. Johnny Bairstow started well but comically chipped one to the long off fielder. Harry Brook tried to justify his inclusion with three successive boundaries off Ravindra. He played one shot too many and found the midwicket fielder with a mistimed shot. Josh Buttler threatened to take the game away from the Kiwis. But Boult’s knuckle ball induced an edge from the skipper.
Joe Root scored his 7th 50+ score in only 14 innings. His most productive shot was the reverse sweep, but he batted with a control over 92% in an innings that showed the importance of rotating the strike. He tried to play a reverse sweep shot off Phillps which ultimately caused his demise.
After the early departure of Will Young, England was looking dangerous with some hints of swing early on. But any hope of building on the start evaporated quickly as Ravindra and Conway started hitting boundaries for fun. Their unbeaten 273 run stand is the highest partnership for New Zealand on the world cup stage.
Ravindra was crisp in shotmaking and his pull shots brought 26 runs. The young all-rounder scored just 189 runs in the ODIs prior to today’s match. There was a sense of swagger in his innings with 16 boundaries. He hit a 148k/h Mark Wood for a six on the leg side. It was an innings even the great Williamson would have been proud of.
Devon Conway broke the record of fastest century for New Zealand in the world cup. He also destroyed the English attack by playing stylish shots off his pads. The South African born opener now averages 76.66 in Asia and will be a key figure of the Kiwis should the reach the final.
Matt Henry was a relatively unknown name on the international ODI stage before the 2019 world cup. The 31 year old pacer turned a corner in his career after excelling in the England world cup. 93% of his deliveries pitched on the good region just outside the off stump. Henry wobbled seam deliveries to maximum effect by dismissing Malan and then the dangerous Buttler.
Trent Boult has been used sparingly by the New Zealand board honouring the pacer’s aspirations of T20 franchises all over the world. He has improved his bowling in the death overs with his use of stock deliveries from round the wicket. He has taken 40 wickets from just 20 matches at an average of 22.45 – the big game player for the Kiwis.
Santner was the pick of the spinners with no boundaries conceded and highlighted by a brilliant change of pace that bamboozled Chris Woakes. Ravindra bowled and so did Glenn Phillips. His quickly improvised full delivery removed Root and the momentum of the game swung.
English bowlers had a terrible day at the office. Mark Wood suffered most, he conceded 55 runs from 5 overs. Josh Buttler was forced to bring Adil Rashid to the fore although both batsmen were left handed. The spin wizard failed to produce any moment of magic. Moeen Ali was the most economical run rate of 6.43 shows how poor the Englishmen fared on a flat track.
Tom Latham missed an early opportunity to catch Dawid Malan. Apart from that, New Zealand fielders were impeccable. Tom Latham claimed three catches from behind the wicket. The English fielders were mostly helpless in pursuit of containing the opponent batters. Their main job was to retrieve the ball from the boundary rope.
Joe Root’s top scored in the first innings with a fluent 77. Buttler and Bairstow failed to capitalize on good starts. Boult and Henry bowled brilliantly in tandem along with the reliable Santner who varied his pace magnificently.
Ravindra and Conway made sure England would not get a sniff and both made stroke-filled centuries. It was a dominant performance by the team from Oceania even with their inspiring captain Williamson still missing.
England was 229/6 after the completion of the 41st over. Joe Root was set and ready to take England close to 300 mark. Glenn Phillps was well aware of the danger of the English superstar reverse sweeping against the spin. The improvised after seeing the stance of Root and bowled a full length delivery. Root was beaten by the pace of the ball and it hit the stumps. England’s hope of reaching 300 was dashed at that moment.
New Zealand won the opening game of the tournament comprehensively by 9 wickets.
Player of the Match
Rachin Ravindra was adjudicated to be the best player of the match for his outstanding knock of 123 runs and a wicket in the first innings.
|England Total: 282/9 (50 overs)||New Zealand Total: 283/1 (36.2 overs)|
|Joe Root 77 (86)||Devon Conway 152* (121)|
|Jos Buttler 43 (42)||Rachin Ravindra 123 (96)|
|Matt Henry 3/48||Sam Curran 1/47|
|Mitchell Santner 2/37||Liam Livingstone 0/24|
The Kiwis avenged their heartbreak four years ago by crushing the Englishmen in the opening fixture. The New Zealand bowlers displayed adaptability throughout England to restrict them. The southpaw pair of Conway and Ravindran
blew the English attack away to reach the finishing line with both completing centuries in the proceedings. England would look to bounce back from the heavy beating with Bangladesh waiting for them in the next match at Dharamshala.