New Zealand beat England by 9 wickets in the opening game of the World Cup with 82 balls remaining
All England 11 batters reached double digits for the first time in an ODI inning, although there was only one fifty-plus stand, a 70-run partnership between Root and Buttler that ended with the latter’s unsuccessful effort to advance Henry to third while with 82 balls remaining, a punishing southpaw combination of Devon Conway’s unbeaten 152 and Rachin Ravindra’s unbeaten 123-helped the team reach the target of 283.
New Zealand had won the toss and elected to bowl first. All England 11 batters reached double digits for the first time in an ODI inning, although there was only one fifty-plus stand, a 70-run partnership between Joe Root and Buttler that ended with the latter’s unsuccessful effort to advance Henry to third.
Dawid Malan was eliminated by Henry’s first move, which was just compensation after an excellent opening spell. However, Jonny Bairstow at the opposite end was the opener creating more worry. Trent Boult’s second ball of the game was flicked beyond square leg for the first of England’s six sixes; Bairstow was responsible for 31 of the 50 runs scored during the powerplay.
Dawid Malan’s dismissal was Henry’s first strike, and it was due compensation for an excellent opening spell. However, Jonny Bairstow was the opener who caused more worry at the opposite end. Trent Boult’s second ball of the game, which was flicked beyond square leg for the first of England’s six sixes—Bairstow was responsible for 31 of the 50 runs scored during the power play.
The first of several speed traps set by New Zealand’s slower bowlers was Bairstow’s downfall at the end of the 13th over. Santner was in charge of that front and tricked Bairstow into going over the top of cover before lofting a drive to Daryl Mitchell at long-off.
Eventually, the left-arm spinner would bowl 10 boundary-free overs while changing his pace, especially towards the end of his spell when Woakes was tempted to have a ball that looped to backward point. Santner proved an important focal point in the absence of reliable bowling alternatives like Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, and Ish Sodhi.
His thriftiness meant Ravindra could get through 10 overs. He was given Harry Brook’s wicket early on, although they were expensive. The fourth delivery, which was also short and intended to be punishing, was mishandled to Conway a few feet in front of the pad after three consecutive deliveries were thrashed to the midwicket boundary, the last of which was a six.
The most surprising bonus may have come from Glenn Phillips. In the first seven balls of the first three overs, two batters were removed by an intermittent wicketkeeper and a full-time dynamo in the outfield.
To combat the threat posed by two left-arm spinners, Moeen Ali was placed at No. 5 ahead of Buttler, and part-time off-spin was used to rearrange his stumps. When he was able to nutmeg Root and strike the leg stump, the Blackcaps’ own Swiss Army knife would win a greater reward.
Given that all five of Root’s boundaries were hit behind the wicket, he was trying a reverse paddle. The first was the most spectacular, a trademark reverse-lap skying Boult over the keeper for six, in an otherwise prudent hit with little risk.
The innings lasted 57 deliveries and represented a return to form for a man who, in a four-match series against the same opponents just last month, averaged 9.75 at home. And when Buttler arrived with his customary vigor, this fifth-wicket stand appeared to be the best option for the situation.
Unfortunately, both had already fallen by the start of the 42nd over, when Root became the second victim of a collapse of 4 for 31. The final pair of Wood and Rashid succeeded in putting together an unbroken 30; this was England’s highest 10-wicket partnership in seven years. A score higher than the 282 for 9 they produced from 50 overs was possible because of England’s efforts with the bat.
With 82 balls remaining, a punishing southpaw combination of Devon Conway’s unbeaten 152 and Rachin Ravindra’s unbeaten 123—ODI centuries number five and one, respectively—helped the team reach the target of 283.
Before Ravindra went one ball further to become the country’s youngest century player in a major competition at age 23, the former beat Martin Guptill’s 88-ball record for the fastest 50-over World Cup century by a New Zealander, getting his up in only 83 balls.
These two Wellington teammates currently form the Blackcaps’ highest partnership in the tournament’s history.
It was made even more amazing by the fact that their unbroken 273-run stand started at the start of the second over when Sam Curran caught Will Young down the leg side for a first-ball duck.
That was the last moment for danger before Kiwi domination won the fastest 250+ target chase in World Cup history. Even the boundary count was blitzed, 38 to 27.
“Sometimes it’s unbelievable at times, but great to have a great day out. The bowlers bowled well and were lucky enough to have Devon out there. I spent a lot of time with Dev and we are very, very close mates. I was a little more comfortable and I have a lot of chat with Dev – being able to do that in the middle is cool. For sure, if you asked us four five years, we all knew the kind of player Dev would become. The surface was very good and lovely to bat on, similar to the warm-up game in Hyderabad.”
Jos Buttler, the England Captain:
“Disappointing day. Very much outplayed by NZ and tough defeat to take. It’s still one loss in a long tournament. I think a lot of guys in our team have played a lot of cricket – we won’t be too down on ourselves and won’t be too high on the other side. I thought we were well below par. We were aiming for somewhere around 330 and it [the pitch] somewhat played better under lights. We just lacked being clinical with your execution. Some of the dismissals were right shots but not executed properly. I think NZ played some great cricket shots and got great value for them. Devon Conway – can’t think of massive shots but he scored quickly. He and Rachin put together a fantastic partnership and we were well beaten. I think the pitch skidded on better under lights but we played a long way short of our best. Don’t think there’s any question around Root. He’s been our best player in our team for a long while. We will wait and see (on Ben Stokes?). Fingers crossed, he can get fit as soon as possible.”
Tom Latham, the New Zealand Captain:
“Obviously, a fantastic partnership between Rachin and Devon. From the 30-over mark onwards, to restrict them to 280 was fantastic. It has been a quick build-up – the warm-ups and guys from Bangladesh. We’ve played a bit in these conditions and I thought we adapted to these conditions beautifully. The two seamers – Henners and Boulty – did a great job and took wickets at crucial times. To restrict them to 280 was outstanding. Probably, the most pleasing thing was Devon and Rachin just reacted to what was being bowled. Rachin played a fantastic innings and proud of him. Looking forward to getting around him tonight.
”Mitch Santner speaks to Star Sports:
“Obviously, England is a tough opponent and probably a good toss to win. It looked like it skidded on under the lights. Hats off to Devon and Rachin. Lockie had soreness and it kind of changed the balance of the team. Rachin made the most of his opportunity and he showed that he’s a world-class player. These two love batting together. They do it domestically and love it. We’ve seen Conway’s quality for a while and Rachin played well during the warm-ups. They just want to keep batting and batting, which is good for us. I thought we got wickets at crucial times and Matt Henry’s wicket of Jos.”