• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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Conway, Ravindra fireworks as New Zealand rout England

Rachin Ravindra’s unbeaten 123 off 96 balls earned the 23-year-old player-of-the-match award on his World Cup debut

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra (L) and Devon Conway run between the wickets during the match against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5, 2023. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

NEW ZEALAND crushed defending champions England by nine wickets in the opening match of the 50-over World Cup on Thursday (5), demonstrating again their knack of punching above their weight in showpiece events.

Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra smashed rapid unbeaten centuries to set up New Zealand’s successful pursuit of a 283-run victory target, which they reached with 13.4 overs to spare.

It was a rematch of the heart-stopping 2019 final at Lord’s in which England were declared winners via a now-scrapped boundary countback rule after the game had ended in a tie.

Ravindra’s unbeaten 123 off 96 balls, studded with 11 fours and five sixes, earned the 23-year-old player-of-the-match award on his World Cup debut.

Electing to field, New Zealand’s bowlers restricted their opponents to 282-9, a modest total considering the firepower in England’s usually formidable batting lineup.

England’s batters did not really fire but Joe Root (77), Jos Buttler (43) and Jonny Bairstow (33) provided some resistance.

However, England could not string together enough partnerships and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

Matt Henry claimed 3-48 for New Zealand and their three spinners shared five wickets on a hot afternoon at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

All 11 England batters made double figures — the first time any side have managed that in ODIs — but it was a patchy batting display.

“Very much outplayed by New Zealand and a tough defeat to take,” Buttler said.

“I thought we were well below-par. We were aiming for somewhere around 330 and the pitch somewhat played better under lights.”

New Zealand lost Will Young for nought in the first over but Conway, who smashed a career-best 152 not out, and Ravindra turned the heat back on England with their free scoring.

The left-handers appeared to be competing with each other to reach the 50-mark quickest — both getting there in 36 balls.

Conway, who hit 19 fours and three sixes, brought up his hundred off 83 balls.

Ravindra, who shared unbroken 273-run partnership with Conway, took one delivery fewer to notch up his maiden ODI hundred.

“Obviously, a fantastic partnership between Rachin and Devon,” Tom Latham, who led New Zealand in the absence of Kane Williamson, said.

“Probably the most pleasing thing was Devon and Rachin just reacted to what was being bowled.

“Rachin played a fantastic innings and (we are) proud of him.”

New Zealand rested Williamson (knee) and fast bowler Tim Southee (thumb) to give them more time to recover from surgery.

England left out Ben Stokes, who is nursing a minor hip injury, replacing him with Harry Brook who made a brisk 25 before falling to Ravindra.

(Reuters)

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