England vs New Zealand: Preview and Prediction
The 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will kick-start with a match between the two teams who were involved in a ‘once in a lifetime’ final four years ago, England and New Zealand. The match will be played in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
The champions of 2019, England are coming into this competition with the tag of favorites. Their fifth-ranked status in the ICC ODI rankings is not a true representation of the team’s strengths, as the Three Lions have a squad packed with international superstars.
On the other hand, New Zealand might be ranked sixth on the ICC ODI rankings, and they might not have been at their best recently. However, the Black Caps have a history of turning up on big occasions, and they are likely to do the same again, albeit in the absence of regular Kane Williamson who is expected to be back in the fold from the second week of the tournament.
What have they done so far?
England will be short of preparations coming into this tournament, as their first warm-up match against India was a complete washout. However, they did get a game in the second match against Bangladesh, where they clinched a four-wicket victory.
Bowling first, England restricted the Tigers to a total of 188/9 in a rain-affected game of 37 overs per side. Reece Topley was England’s best bowler, picking up three wickets. The Three Lions then chased the total down in 24.1 overs only, at the loss of 6 wickets. Moeen Ali was the highest scorer with a 56-run knock.
New Zealand did not come to India on the back of red hot form, but as they always do, the Blackcaps have lived up to the occasion in an ICC event. They have been superb in the warm-up matches so far, having won both of their games.
In their first warm-up game, they conceded 345 runs on a flat-batting deck in Hyderabad. The target was steep, but New Zealand managed to chase it down quite comfortably in only 43.4 overs, losing just 5 wickets in the process. Rachin Ravindra was the star of the show, scoring 97 runs.
In their second game against South Africa, they batted first and scored 321 runs, with Devon Conway smashing 78 runs. South Africa fell 7 runs shy in a rain-affected run chase, as Trent Boult bowled a fantastic spell.
Head to Head Record
There is hardly anything to separate the two teams when it comes to head-to-head records. They have met 95 times in ODI cricket, where England have won 45 games and New Zealand have won on 44 occasions. Two games ended in ties, while four were abandoned.
However, England have won all of the last three ODIs against New Zealand. The last meeting took place only a few days ago at Lord’s, where England got a 100-run win. They scored 311 runs while batting first, thanks to an excellent century from Dawid Malan, while a four-wicket haul by Moeen Ali meant New Zealand were bowled out for only 211.
Jos Buttler (England): England will be highly reliant on their skipper Jos Buttler, who did look in good nick in the warm-up game against Bangladesh. Coming to bat with the only intention of smashing everything out of the park, Buttler scored 30 runs in 15 deliveries, including 5 fours and a six.
As for his ODI numbers, he has scored 4823 runs in 169 games, at an average of over 40 and a strike rate of nearly 120. Moreover, he is always among the best batters in the IPL, highlighting how he knows the tracks and conditions in India very well.
Devon Conway (New Zealand): In the absence of Kane Williamson, the top-order responsibilities will fall on the able shoulders of Devon Conway. The Chennai Super Kings’ opening batter has enough experience of playing on the pitches that will be involved in the upcoming tournament.
In the first match against Pakistan, Conway was dismissed for a golden duck by Hasan Ali but bounced back with an impressive innings of 78 runs off 73 balls and had to retire out to allow other batters to get enough batting practice ahead of the mega tournament.
England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler © (wk), Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley.
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham © (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi.
If the warm-up matches are anything to go by, New Zealand is ready for any possible challenge but England has more firepower in their ranks, which tilts the balance slightly in their favor.