In a one-sided opening match of the Men’s World Cup 2023, New Zealand’s Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra unleashed a whirlwind of destruction upon an out-of-sorts England attack, steering their team to a resounding nine-wicket win at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The explosive duo combined forces to construct an unbroken partnership of 271 runs, leaving England’s bowlers with no answers. It was a performance reminiscent of a tornado, and it concluded almost as swiftly as it began. Conway blazed his way to an unbeaten 152 runs from just 121 deliveries, while Ravindra matched the onslaught with an incredible 123 not out from 96 balls.
England’s target of 282 seemed competitive, but Sam Curran struck early, dismissing Will Young for a duck. However, Young’s departure only brought the relentless Ravindra to the crease, where he joined forces with Conway to dismantle England’s pace and spin attack.
The opening powerplay saw New Zealand, known as the BlackCaps, launch a barrage of two sixes and 13 fours, with Ravindra hitting two of those sixes, one each against Mark Wood and Moeen Ali.
The pair showed no mercy, propelling New Zealand to a commanding 81/1 during the first powerplay. They maintained an astonishing run rate close to eight runs per over throughout the innings, reaching their respective half-centuries in the 12th and 13th overs.
By the 25-over mark, their partnership of 177 runs had already become the highest ever for two New Zealand batters in a Cricket World Cup match, eclipsing the 1996 record set by Chris Harris and Lee Germon.
Conway reached his scintillating century in the 27th over, requiring just 83 balls. Ravindra, the young sensation, was equally impressive, driving New Zealand closer to victory.
The relentless duo continued their carnage without allowing any respite to England and ultimately steered their team to a resounding nine-wicket win.
Earlier in the game, Matt Henry’s fiery three-wicket haul, coupled with Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner’s contributions, restricted England to 282/9 in their innings.
England started aggressively, with Jonny Bairstow launching a six off the first ball of the match. However, they lost wickets at crucial junctures, with Dawid Malan departing for 14 runs in the eighth over.
Joe Root’s unorthodox reverse scoop for a six provided some excitement, but New Zealand soon regained control during the second powerplay. Mitchell Santner dismissed Bairstow for 33, and Harry Brook fell for 25 while attempting to accelerate the run rate.
As England’s middle order faltered, well-set batsmen Jos Buttler and Root also lost their wickets, leaving England in dire straits. Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, and Mark Wood attempted to salvage the innings, with Adil Rashid providing a late flourish, smashing 14 runs off the final over to help England post a competitive total of 282/9.
In the end, it was New Zealand’s day as they romped to a convincing victory, setting the stage for an exciting and unpredictable Men’s World Cup 2023.
England 282/9 (Joe Root 77, Jos Buttler 43; Matt Henry 3-48) vs New Zealand 283/1 (Devon Conway 152, Rachin Ravindra 123; Sam Curran 1-47).