World Cup 2023: Conway, Ravindra torment England in lopsided opener as New Zealand cruise to 9-wicket win

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AHMEDABAD: Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra struck like a tornado with counter-attacking hundreds that left an out-of-sorts England attack bereft of ideas as New Zealand registered a nine-wicket victory against defending champions at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

The duo stitched an unbeaten 271-run stand to help New Zealand thrash England by 9 wickets and it almost came in a jiffy. Conway played a scintillating knock of unbeaten 152 runs off 121 while Rachin slammed an outstanding 123* runs off 96 balls. Defending a target of 282, Sam Curran drew first blood as he dismissed Will Young for a duck.

Young’s wicket brought Rachin Ravindra to the crease who joined hands with Conway to destroy England’s pace and spin attack. The opening powerplay saw the BlackCaps hit two sixes and 13 fours. From Ravindra’s bat, two sixes were hit, one against Mark Wood and the other against Moeen Ali.

The pair didn’t give up after helping New Zealand reach 81/1 in the first powerplay; they continued to score at a rate that was closer to eight throughout the next few overs. They also reached their respective half-centuries in the 12th and 13th overs, marking significant personal milestones.

At the 25-over stage, Their unbeaten stand of 177 runs was already the highest partnership for two New Zealand batters in a Cricket World Cup encounter. They surpassed Chris Harris and Lee Germon’s 1996 record of 168 runs.

In the 27th over, Conway brought up his blistering century in just 83 balls. A scintillating maiden hundred from young sensation Rachin drove the New Zealand close to the chase.

The duo continued the carnage without breaking the momentum and guided their team home with 9 9-wicket victory.

Earlier, Matt Henry’s fiery three-wicket haul, Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner’s two helped New Zealand restrict defending champions England to 282/9 in the opening match.

Put to bat first, the defending champions got off to a fiery start as opener Jonny Bairstow played spectacular shots by striking a six off the very first ball of the contest. He sent into the stands an errant Trent Boult delivery that had strayed down the legside.

However, opener Dawid Malan was cautious with his approach against the Blackcaps pacers. In the eighth over, Malan ultimately nicked one behind Matt Henry and went back to the pavilion after scoring just 14 runs in 24 balls. The England hitters continued to go for their shots in an effort to maintain the scoring tempo.

Joe Root performed an unusual reverse scoop, which went behind the keeper’s head for a six.

But in the second powerplay, New Zealand took back control of the situation as Mitchell Santner sent Bairstow (33) packing in the 13th over. The young gun Harry Brook (25), who had struck 4, 4, and 6 off the previous in the 17th over fell prey to Rachin Ravindra and gave up a catch in deep midwicket.

After losing Moeen Ali to Glenn Phillips’ off-spin, England’s scoring rate was further hampered. Well-set batters Jos Buttler and Root lost their wickets and left England tottering.

In the 45th over of the game, Chris Woakes fell prey to Santner’s final ball of his spell. In the next over Henry’s short delivery baffled Sam Curran who handed a catch to Tom Latham after scoring 14 runs.

Mark Wood then came out to join hands with Adil Rashid at the crease. In the last over Rashid opened his hands and slammed James Neesham for 14 runs to help England post a competitive total of 282/9.

Brief score: 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). (ANI)

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