Matches (18)
IND v ENG (1)
WPL (1)
BPL 2024 (2)
PSL 2024 (1)
NZ v AUS (1)
WCL 2 (1)
Ranji Trophy (4)
WI 4-Day (4)
CWC Play-off (3)
RESULT
1st Match (D/N), Ahmedabad, October 05, 2023, ICC Cricket World Cup
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282/9
(36.2/50 ov, T:283) 283/1

New Zealand won by 9 wickets (with 82 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
123* (96) & 1/76
rachin-ravindra
Live
Updated 05-Oct-2023 • Published 05-Oct-2023

Live Report - England vs New Zealand, World Cup 2023

By Alagappan Muthu (now) Hemant Brar (earlier)

NZ win!

Kane Williamson is still working his way back from an ACL injury.
Tim Southee still can't feel the tip of his broken thumb.
Lockie Ferguson has a back problem, although he spent a little time as a sub fielder out there, so it shouldn't be too bad.
With three HUUUGE players missing, New Zealand have utterly swatted England aside.
Mitchell Santner produced a rare 10-over spell of bowling - England couldn't hit him for a single boundary, and that hasn't happened in ODIs since 2018.
Matt Henry produced perhaps the ball of the game in conditions designed to negate him and even a batter of the quality of Jos Buttler couldn't keep it out.
Devon Conway cruised to his fourth century in 11 innings in 2023, showcasing a strength that very few batters have. He power-hits off side. He can't be contained.
Rachin Ravindra, 23 years old, became NZ's youngest World Cup centurion.
Their unbroken partnership - 273 off 211 balls with 30 fours and eight sixes - sees NZ through with nine wickets and 82 balls to spare inside a 100,000 seater stadium that the ICC says was half full but it didn't look anything like it.
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NZ nearing victory

Ian Smith on air makes a fine point. A drinks break has just gone by and it looks like Conway and Ravindra have been told to win this game in a hurry, to target an Net Run Rate boost, because NRRs matter in World tournaments.
This is Sam Curran's first over after the break and the 35th of the innings over all. NZ 265 for 1. They're only 18 away.
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NZ bulldozed Australia, who were the defending T20 champions in 2022 and they're bulldozing England, the defending ODI champions. Australia never recovered from that loss. England? They should. They probably will. ODIs give teams suffering slumps more of a chance than T20s. Plus its a long tournament. Eight whole matches left for them to bounce back.
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Ravindra hundred

Conway's 83-ball century was the fastest for New Zealand at the men's ODI World Cup, beating Martin Guptill, 88 balls vs Bangladesh in 2015.
That's already history now with Rachin Ravindra, the 23-year old playing only his 9th ODI innings, getting to three-figures in 82 balls.
23 Ravindra is the youngest NZ batter to score a men's ODI World Cup century. He is also the second-youngest player to score a century on debut in the men's ODI World Cup, behind Virat Kohli
It was pointed out earlier by a comment on our ball-by-ball coverage that each of the last four World Cups have been won by the team who put up its first century
2007: Ponting 113 vs Sco
2011: Sehwag 175 vs Ban
2015: Finch 135 vs Eng
2019: Root 107 vs Pak
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Conway hundred

5 ODI hundreds from just 22 trips to the crease in ODIs for Devon Conway. Four of em have come this year, from just 11 innings.
He's scored em all over too. Indore vs India, Wellington vs Bangladesh, Cardiff vs England, Karachi vs Pakistan and Ahmedabad vs England.
NZ bring up their 200 in just 26.5 overs. They're 83 runs from victory with nine wickets in hand.
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Boundary countback II

It's not like there's dew on the pitch out there. England have just erred horribly with their lengths.
They've given too many balls for NZ to get under and lift out of the ground. And to compensate, they go full which when the white ball isn't swinging is just an invitation to hit through the line.
Two ODI World Cup debutants Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra have never let up the pressure. Every boundary-hittable ball has been boundary hit.
England managed 27 of them in their whole innings. Just these two - Conway 13 fours and two sixes, Ravindra eight fours and four sixes - are lapping them from only 25 overs of batting.
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NZ World Cup record

The highest partnership for New Zealand in ODI World Cups. Conway and Ravindra have taken over from the mark set by Lee Germon and Chris Harris in 1996
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Conway power-hitter

I chose Devon Conway as New Zealand's key player in this World Cup because he is awesome against spin and the reason for that is unlike other players he power-hits through the off side. Look at all those boundaries he's struck there today. Look at just the cover region.
Earlier today, New Zealand restricted Liam Livingstone by bowling wide outside off. They shut off one area of the ground to him. You can't do that with Conway.
Drinks break. NZ 138 for 1 in 17 overs. Ben Stokes was out there during the interval to pass his suggestions.
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Boundary countback

27 boundaries for England in their whole innings.
18 boundaries for New Zealand already in just 12 overs
Rachin Ravindra has fifty now, getting there with the most dismissive six over midwicket, caring not one single moment that he is charging at a spinner taking the ball away from him. He has sealed his place in NZ's XI now. Fifty-three on World Cup debut off just 36 balls. Here's his story by Shashank Kishore
Conway matches his partner, a fifty off 36 balls for him too.
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NZ's first 10 overs

10, 0(w), 9, 0, 8, 10, 17, 9, 10 and 8.
Ravindra is 47 off 31 with seven fours and two sixes. And he's hit em everywhere. Cover drives. Square drives. Pull shot for six, against Wood's pace, pull shot for six against Moeen's off spin.
Sampath from out stats team says: New Zealand's highest first ten overs total in ODIs since the 84/1 vs Australia in February 2016 (McCullum's last ODI)
Loads of runs off horizontal bat shots from these two left-handers, showing England have dug it into the pitch a bit too much, and unlike in the first innings, it isn't holding up, resulting, as Matt Roller points out, in their worst bowling powerplay at a World Cup since McCullum in 2015
NZ didn't really hit the middle of the pitch all that much, they focused on the 4-6m mark with the new ball and then later on the 6-8m mark with a lot of variations. They actively took pace off to make it harder for the batters to hit. England''s quicks though haven't really tried taking pace off. They've just put more and more on. And that just made the ball glide onto the middle of the bat. Honestly, the sound it made off Ravindra's bat was startling.
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Spin, England?

Matt Roller from the stadium reminds us that this is the first time Mark Wood is bowling since the end of the Ashes in July 31 owing to a foot injury.
Chris Woakes has had a shocking first three overs. He was England's banker with the new ball but he just couldn't settle on a length here. He was too short. Then when he went full, the line suffered, and he gave away easy boundary-hitting options.
Jos Buttler's seam attack has suddenly become a liability. Will he go to spin like NZ did earlier in the day? Adil Rashid is one of the world's best.
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Ra-chiiin! Ra-chin!

It feels silly now considering the people NZ have recovering from injury but they've got a problem of plenty brewing.
Will Young is who they've designated as opener in the lead-up to this World Cup. But in almost the course of one innings - that too in a warm-up game - Rachin Ravindra might be making them think again.
His timing is so crisp, and it looks like once he buiilds up a head of steam, he can just run and run. He's very early in his career - just 12 ODIs - but in that time he has a strike rate of 111. And the shots he's playing here are the reasons why.
He has no fear hitting on the up and he seems to middle em almost like he's spent time tracking destiny down, getting dirt on it and now making it his well...
Even Mark Wood's 148 kph thunderbolts aren't fazing him. Ravindra has pulled the fastest bowler in the World Cup for a six over deep square leg. When Kane Williamson comes back and takes the No. 3 spot, NZ may well decide that Ravindra has done enough to open with him, even if it leaves them with two left-handers?
8 boundaries in 25 balls - that's roughly one in three balls - for Ravindra in this innings. He's made 38 of the 53 runs that the second wicket has added. Ravindra is scoring at a rate of 152 and the partnership is coming at a rate of 7.75 per over
Ravindra's father named him after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Sachin's at the ground right now. He might be looking on at some of these shots and going "Mmmmmm....!"
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Woakes' low-key shocker

6 fours in Chris Woakes' first 18 deliveries. That might be his first spell done
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Curran strikes

England have had a few 'making things happen' allrounders and this kid is fitting in seamlessly.
Sam Curran still looks like he should be in school. That bleached blond haircut he had a while back screamed 90s teenage rebel.
He wears the number 58, which was Brett Lee's, and that's a guy who made things happen too.
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Here, with England needing early wickets, he strikes with his first ball in ODI World Cups. And its the kind that reminds you he's been chosen like the rest of us aren't.
It's down leg. It's a gimme ball. It should be four. Instead Will Young tickles it to the keeper. It's not the first time he's done that. Wonder if its now a pattern.
At the other end, Chris Woakes is having a low-key shocker. Dev Conway climbed into him in the first over
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Ravindra targets him in the second, which will help NZ feel less like they've lost an early wicket. They're without Williamson and the new No. 3, who came into this game after a fine warm-up against Pakistan, is looking the part.
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England 282 for 9

Matt Henry with his wobble seam.
Mitchell Santner with his change of pace.
Trent Boult with his round-the-wicket angle. (27 runs off 40 balls, one four, one six)
All of them knowing where not to bowl to England's power hitters.
And Tom Latham, the stand-in captain, who has a very legitimate grievance to being overlooked when NZ were looking for a new Test captain, have all shaped this game into a bit of a revelation.
England finish on 282 for 9. They were 252 for 9 in the 46th over but with a guy with 10 first-class centuries - Adil Rashid - still out there, they went through to 50 overs and the score isn't all that bad.
2 boundaries hit by England in the last 10 overs
Ahmedabad has offered a very dry, very abrasive surface, and the two quicks understood that. They kept rolling the fingers down it, they kept wobbling the seam or going knuckle ball, trying just anything to be unpredictable. Because if England are allowed to hit through the line, they often run away with the game.
New Zealand will feel they've done very well to prevent the worst case scenario. Only Jos Buttler threatened them. Joe Root was different, he milked them. They still found a way through both. It really was a fine performance but it will need backing up from the batters. The ball moves around under lights here and the surface is clearly two-paced.
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Santner's day

0 boundaries off Santner's bowling in his 10 overs. He finishes 2 for 37. ESPNcricinfo's stats editor S Rajesh says he's the first bowler to get through 10 overs without going for a boundary in an ODI against England since 2018
He bowls thinking like a batter. The final ball of his spell is aaaaalllll loopy. It is begging to be hit. Except it's wide outside off. And it is turning away. And it is dipping because whenever Santner goes slow, he puts loads more revs on. Woakes makes the mistake of trying to drag it leg side, ends up spooning a catch to point.
Santner's arrival, in the 7th over, slowed England down early. His first spell was 5-0-19-1. That one wicket was Jonny Bairstow the face of Bazball. The agenda-setter of this England line-up. NZ came in undercooked. They had key players unavailable with injury. And still they have tied the defending champions down to a score they probably wouldn't mind chasing.
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Latham's hand

Matt Roller, from the stadium in Ahmedabad: With Tim Southee (thumb) and Lockie Ferguson (back) sidelined, Tom Latham only has two frontline seamers at his disposal in this opening match but has used them aggressively – and been rewarded for it.
Many captains would have opted to hold a greater proportion of Trent Boult and Matt Henry’s allocations for the death overs, but he has brought them back to chase wickets in the 31-40 overs phase and it has worked, twice.
First, Henry induced an edge behind as Jos Buttler fiddled at a wobbler in the off-stump channel. Five overs later, Latham brought Boult back for his eighth over, and after four consecutive dots, he drew a mistimed leg-side whip from Liam Livingstone to have him caught at long-on.
England have lost Joe Root as well, bowled under the bat and through the legs off a premeditated reverse sweep, which allowed Glenn Phillips to change his length and go almost blockhole.
PS - Ferguson was briefly on a sub fielder - so can't be too bad a niggle
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Boult, you beauty

Trent Boult is a triumph of many things.
At the start, he arrived as a gift. A boy who could make the ball trace various geometric shapes in the air.
But that was it. He was a new-ball brat.
He was found out whenever he had to bowl in the death.
And then, like all the very best players, like Steven Smith who decided to test the very limits of batting, like Shane Warne who decided to test the very limits of reality itself, Boult evolved.
He remains one of the most potent new-ball bowlers in every form of the game. But he is now also a force when the thing goes old and out of shape and doesn't do anything off the straight.
In this game, he's gone knuckle ball a lot and its that variation that provides him with the wicket of Liam Livingstone.
Along with that, there's also his smarts. Livingstone is a batter who loves hitting legside. Boult denied him that for four straight wide-of-off-stump deliveries and then angled one straight - that one is the knuckle ball, it was bait. It was asking the batter to hit it in the hope that he'd end up mistiming it and that's exactly what happened.
Boult's one-day game has levelled up, which really is why he chose to say no to a central contract because he knew his skills would attract so many T20 teams around the world. It's a credit to him and a credit to NZ cricket as well that they've come to an understanding to make the best use of one of their prized resources. Think back to 2019 and how SA treated AB de Villiers. They were saying he was picking and choosing to play for his country. Think back to even before that with Cricket West Indies and how they treated people like Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.
NZ chose not to marginalise their assets. They chose to work with them and here they are now.
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Root in a nutshell

5 boundaries for Joe Root in an innings of 71 off 76. All of them have been in the V behind the wicket.
That he's still managed to maintain such a high strike rate despite only 22 runs in fours and sixes is because of how utterly god-like he is at finding singles. He's milked 47 of them in this innings. He's only allowed 23 dot balls.
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Luck going NZ's way

Shiva Jayaraman who is basically a wizard masquerading as a statistician for ESPNcricinfo: With the fall of Jos Buttler’s wicket, England have exposed their lower middle-order a lot earlier than they would’ve been expected to against a bowling side like New Zealand.
New Zealand have struggled to take wickets in the middle overs (11 to 40) in recent times in ODIs. Since the 2019 World Cup they have struck once every 47 balls in the middle overs. Among teams playing in this World Cup, Netherlands are the only team who are clearly worse than them in terms of strike-rate in overs 11 to 40.
The New Zealand bowlers who’ve bowled in this game so far had a combined tally of just 49 wickets from over 450 overs before this match in the middle overs since the last World Cup – that’s an average three wickets in 30 overs of second Powerplay. England have lost four wickets in just over 23 overs so far.
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Henry KOs Buttler

Very Liam Plunkett taking out Kane Williamson in the 2019 final.
There's a little bit of extra bounce off the pitch.
The wobble-seam also cuts the ball back into the right-hander
And Buttler wasn't expecting either of those things to happen.
He was just trying to gently dab it down to third to tick the strike over.
Ends up nicking off to the keeper.
This is outstanding bowling from man New Zealand often forgot prior to 2019.
Henry played only 4 ODIs in 2017. Half that in 2018. Then, for some reason or other, Tim Southee started losing the ability to swing the white ball.
Henry, at that time, was cutting a swathe through batting line-ups in county cricket, and his strength in making the ball talk consistently pushed him ahead of the pecking order.
Henry, who made his debut in 2014, has played 40 of his 76 ODIs over the last four years. From being unable to break into the side to carrying them in their first game of the 2023 World Cup in India where conditions aren't at all suited for him.
This is some story. He is some player. Just determination made flesh.
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Rooooooooooot!

61 half-centuries for Joe Root in ODIs. His first since July 2022 and fourth since the 2019 World Cup. He's been in control of 93% of the balls he's faced, which personally feels very low. I thought it'd be at 100! He's been that smooth.
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Buttler's genius

You remember that quote, where he said he isn't worried about technique, just about getting one over the opposition? Someone should lay that over a Buttler innings, especially the sixes he hits down the ground.
Because when he decides to go, his front foot doesn't really move a lot. It doesn't take him towards the line of the ball. It just comes straight down the pitch, and not even that far, because he needs room to free the arms.
It's slightly similar to the way Rohit Sharma hits sixes. Not a lot of footwork because all that magic is in his hands and in his conviction.
It's the inverse of the box technique that AB de Villiers talks about in this video here.
Batters play beside the ball now and Buttler is one of the leading examples. He is so minimalist. It shows even in the most audacious shot he plays - the scoops - because he doesn't really move a lot of his body. He just plants the bat where he knows the ball will be and then there's a flick of the wrists.
That minimalism is the reason why he makes contact with those shots more often than he doesn't.
In the 9.1 overs that Buttler has been at the crease, England have scored 53 runs. He's been responsible for 34 of them. Back on track for 300+
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NZ's spinners

4 The first over cost 12 runs, but since then, 20 have gone by, and England have managed more than run a ball in only four. NZ's spinners have bowled eight of those 20.
This is the building phase. And they know with Buttler and Livingstone still available, they'll be able to go at 8s and 10s in the last 20 overs if need be.
NZ will want to pull in one of those big hitters in right now so they end up having to do a little more work in terms of pacing their innings, and guess what, Glenn Phillips has done it for them.
England sent their left-hander out to counter NZ's left-arm spinners. So NZ turned to their part-time offspinner and he's struck second ball.
England four down in the 22nd over and its time for their captain to take centre stage.
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They're finally here

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Hi Brook, Bye Brook

He bolted into the England squad at the last possible minute, the potential he brings as a middle-order power-hitter too tempting to ignore.
Brook showcased in a battle that was looking increasingly one-sided against Rachin Ravindra, the other left-arm spinner in NZ's ranks.
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Rachin seemed to go flat and into the pitch against Brook, when he has a pretty good tossed up ball, when he actually gets drift into and dip on right-handers if he allows himself. Maybe he was just trying to get his first over out of the way without sustaining too much damage. Spinners nowadays think containing and therefore going quicker and into the pitch.
Which is fair, except here, Ravindra had no-one at deep midwicket, and these balls were just sitting up. Especially to Brook because he has a low stance, as a result of which, he can get under even those deliveries that aren't necessarily short and send them a long, long way.
Brook was coming out on top and so he went after another long hop from Ravindra, only this time he holes out to deep square leg. Pretty lucky for NZ.
England send Moeen Ali up ahead of Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone to try and mess with the bowling plans. NZ have two left-arm spinners turning it into Moeen's hitting arc and Latham will have to figure out if that's worth it.
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Smarty pants Santner

Mitchell Santner has variations. He has a knuckle ball that he calls the claw because of how he ends up gripping it. He can, if he wants to, try a lot of things.
The reason he doesn't is because of his two stock deliveries and the immense control he has over both of them.
The first is what he's more known for. The slider from wide of the crease, which hurries into right-handers after pitching, and pins em if they make the mistake of trying to go horizontal bat. They make that mistake because the length and the trajectory of this ball sucks them in.
Jonny Bairstow faced a few of these early on, when he was trying to make room and found he wasn't doing it quick enough.
The other trick Santner has is when he slows the ball down, he gives it proper revs. That gets him a bit of dip. And more importantly on dry surfaces like these, it gets him a bit more grip. Those two combine to mess with Bairstow's timing when he thought he had a simple option to hit a four inside out over extra cover.
The ball dipping and coming off the pitch a lot slower than he expects - maybe partly because he was conditioned to the pace of those sliders that he faced early on - left him spooning a catch straight down long-off's throat.
Mitchell Santner reads the white-ball game about as well as anybody ever. This is why he's one of the first men in the NZ team sheet.
6 boundaries in the first six overs for England. Just three fours and one six in the 10 overs since. Santner's played a big part in that, with a spell of 5-0-19-1
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Joe Root's in

He's played only 10 ODIs in the last two years.
Normally that would put a player on the back foot when they're in a World Cup setting.
But second ball in, Root does the most Root thing ever.
He nudges the ball into a gap, in front of a fielder, and hares off.
Root feeds his game with these quick singles. It's how he is often on 25 off 20 balls before anyone notices.
And lately, with Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum enabling him to ball all the he can be, those reverse sweeps that he's got will prove very disruptive today because NZ have turned to spin in the first 10 overs. They will be relying on Santner, Ravindra and Phillips a lot today.
If Root stays in for any length of time, that plan B will start to look suspect
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The early story

174 England's strike-rate against the NZ fast bowlers when they pitched it full in the first six overs. That's 34 runs in 19 balls. It's where all their five fours and a six have come from.
When they've pulled their length back, somewhere in the 4-6m mark, England have made only 1 run in 12 balls. That's the length that produces the wicket too. Dawid Malan caught behind driving on the up off Matt Henry in the eighth over mere minutes after he might have been dropped by Tom Latham off Mitchell Santner.
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Welp

You remember how they sent the trophy up to space, right?
Looks more and more like time, effort and money well spent.
The fans really deserve SO MUCH more from the administrators.
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Let's not go?

Matt Henry is known for his new-ball skills. His outswinger to the right-handers was a crucial ingredient in the sucker punch they gave India in the semi-final of the last World Cup and he reminds everyone that he's still got it.
Dawid Malan, a left-hander, so that same ball swings into him, weathers an lbw shout and DRS finds that he's okay. The ball that he simply was not ready to deal with, crashing into his front pad, while he was still on the move, would've leapt over the stumps.
That's this pitch. It's hard. It's true. It's got good bounce and Kumar Dharmasena weighed all that in to make the right decision on-field.
Nevertheless, Henry produces a maiden and New Zealand show they won't be pushed around.
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Let's go

This ODI World Cup game will begin as the last ODI World Cup game ended, with Ian Smith, Nasser Hussain and Ian Bishop on commentary.
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England bat all the way down to No. 11. Adil Rashid has 10 first-class centuries. Mark Wood can swing. All that firepower will enable them to maximise one of the flattest batting surfaces in all of the world.
And that line-up is going against a New Zealand bowling attack shorn of its X-factor with Ferguson out with a niggle. They can't call on Southee's experience either. And even Boult, who just bowled that first over, doesn't look the threat he usually is. There's not enough swing to make Bairstow think twice. Buckle up, folks. We might get 500 right here. Right in the first game.
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Where are the fans?

Sidharth Monga, who is at the 100,000 capacity Narendra Modi stadium, has had a very smooth passage through to the press box... because there is barely any crowd... No wonder they didn't bother with an opening ceremony.
"A dampener of a start to the World Cup. As we feared all along, it seems it is going to be a struggle to fill up grounds when India are not playing because travelling fans have not been given enough time to plan their trips to India. It looks all the more jarring given how big this stadium is.
Another dampener is the number of injuries in the tournament opener, a rematch of the iconic 2019 World Cup final. Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Ben Stokes are the big injuries, which does make it a less of a match."
Al interjects: It probably also matters that sporting events are falling behind in a world where entertainment is available right by your bedside at the click of a button. TV shows are more immersive. Games are more inclusive. Fortnite is a worldwide phenomenon and no one can say its not every bit a real community.
Monga continues: "Also I am a little surprised both the sides wanted to bowl. Recent trends have shown the new ball moves more under lights than during the day. Also an ultra recent rend has been the ball gripping in the surface for spinners under lights. Just feel they don’t want to take on the dew early doors."
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Toss: New Zealand bowl

Tom Latham, the NZ stand-in captain, says hopefully the conditions get better for run-scoring in the evening to explain his decision. Williamson (recovering from an ACL injury) is not ready for this game. It's a day by day thing for him. Along with him, Lockie Ferguson (niggle), Ish Sodhi and Tim Southee (recovering from a finger injury) miss out.
Jos Buttler says they are very proud of their achievement four years ago but they're starting fresh, they're "attacking" fresh. He doesn't even seem to like the phrase "defending" their world title. He goes "attacking" the title. People say he's soft spoken but that choice of word alone tells just how wrong they are. Jos is boss. He says Atkinson, Topley, Willey and Stokes miss out.
England: 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 Dawid Malan, 3 Joe Root, 4 Harry Brook, 5 Jos Buttler (capt/wk), 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood
New Zealand: 1 Devon Conway, 2 Will Young, 3 Rachin Ravindra, 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Tom Latham (capt/wk), 6 Glenn Phillips, 7 Mark Chapman, 8 James Neesham, 9 Mitchell Santner, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult
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Our treats

Jos Buttler is the bridge that connects the batters of the previous era to this one, by scoring a consistent weight of runs in a manner never before imagined. And his success reflects the changing ways of our sport. Cricket was, for hundreds of years, obsessed with technique and perfection. Now it's freestyling. Now it cherishes every method, not just the one prescribed by some book gathering dust somewhere.
"I'm just thinking about how I can get ahead of the opposition, as opposed to technique," England's captain told Nagraj Gollapudi in this wide-ranging interview that captures just what a phenomenon he really is.
If you're in the USA, you can watch the World Cup opener LIVE on ESPN+.
We have ball-by-ball commentary for the World Cup opener in Hindi and in Tamil as well.
Last but not least, here's a cheat sheet, prepared by Sidharth Monga on how to win the World Cup

Four years ago…

Ross Taylor, New Zealand batter and former captain: I can only imagine how many games of cricket I've played and I've never seen that happen.
Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand fast bowler: I forget how long we were out there, but it felt it was longer than the two-day semi-final.
Ian Smith, Former New Zealand wicketkeeper; commentator: There were things that happened that you would never have imagined. Maybe once or twice in your career, but all on the same day?
Shane Jurgensen, New Zealand assistant coach; former fast bowler: Thought I'd get over it, but you don't. It brings it all up once again and it's bubbling away.
One of those men is probably stocking up on coffee somewhere in the southern hemisphere, preparing to stay up through the night. The other three will be in Ahmedabad, shaping the course of history once more. The Black Caps are a compelling bunch if only because they seem to insist on keeping to the tethers they came with. They don’t want to be superstars. They just want to be the best they can be. And they never give up that pursuit.
Me and my lil brother, Deivarayan Muthu, spent the better part of a month and a half, chasing their side of the story from the 2019 World Cup final, aka the greatest game of ODI cricket ever played. Here it is for your pleasure.
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The Dynasty

England love their superheroes. Those larger than life personalities who seem to bend the entire universe to their will. Shakespeare. Churchill. That one guy who went viral on Twitter recently for re-enacting footballers’ celebrations in slow motion live.
They haven’t had a lot of those mavericks picking up a bat or ball. But when they did, ooohh boy.
WG Grace, Ian Botham, Freddie Flintoff - these players became more than just flesh and blood and genius. They became an escape. They became an affirmation. They became the pride of a grateful nation which had loved this icky sport even when it seemed like it just didn’t have eyes for them. Worse, it rewarded their faith by putting them on the wrong end of the lolz.
2015 marked the end of all that. 2015 marked the end of a painful relationship and the beginning of a brave new one. From the ashes of that defeat to Bangladesh in Adelaide, rose a revolution. Now England have a whole team of once-in-a-generation players. They even have people waiting in the wings who could be classed as such. Will Jacks and Phil Salt and Rehan Ahmed and Will Smeed will keep the party train going.
England are here. This is the best they’ve ever been. And by the end of November, they might be holding not one, not two but three world titles.
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Why this World Cup matters

We all have a World Cup memory.
Mine is 1999 when I barged into the TV room and demanded that they put on cartoons. My grandad looked at me as if I hadn’t just roasted him over the coals for watching dull live humans doing dull human things when there was perfectly good – no actually, animation is psychedelic - available at the press of a button and he said in Tamil “konja neram, pa” which loosely translates to “just for a little while, kid.”
Konja neram turned into hours and hours because somewhere at the start I saw my grandad do something I had never seen him do. He shouted. He clapped. He had a smile the size of a kid. All because Adam Gilchrist had just (mis-)hit Shoaib Akhtar for six. And I realised cricket, well sport, did to adults what cartoons did to kids. It makes them feel so alive.
For the next several days all grandad could talk about was that six to anybody he met, even strangers at the park he used to take me. Cricket brings people together. It just cuts right through the awkwardness, the doubt, the oh will they think I’m lame if I start talking about this. And power like that needs to be celebrated.
Especially now in a world that has seen war. A world that has survived a pandemic. A world that has both literally and figuratively been split into pieces and shows no sign of stopping. In a time when people are actively being encouraged to hate and distrust, when they are being marginalised for the right to choose how they want to live, it’d be nice to sit down “konja neram” and be swept up by something good. Something life-affirming. Something that can’t help but bring us all together.
My name is Alagappan Muthu. Thank you for joining me.
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Will this be the last World Cup that is this big a deal?

The advent of T20s has marginalised ODI cricket significantly over the last few years. So much that Mark Nicholas, the incoming president of MCC, has called for 50-over cricket to be played exclusively at World Cups to preserve the format. Does that mean this will be the last World Cup that is this big a deal? Osman Samiuddin tackles that question here.
On that note, let me hand over the reins to Alagappan Muthu.
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New Zealand are not defending champions

New Zealand played back-to-back finals, in 2015 and 2019, but they have never won the trophy despite being one of the most consistent sides. Usually, they are also one of the best-prepared ones as well for world tournaments, but that's not the case this time. Moreover, with Williamson and Southee not 100% fit, they have only 13 players to pick from for today's game.
So, according to their stand-in captain Tom Latham, they are relying on their adaptability. "Obviously, the end goal is to be there at the end [of the tournament], which I'm sure every team has," Latham said when asked if he was confident they could adapt. "But I think something we pride ourselves on as a group is being able to adapt as best we can. We are lucky that we have guys who have played plenty of cricket in these parts of the world, whether it be against India or in the IPL." Sid Monga reports.
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England are not 'defending' champions

Jos Buttler doesn't see England as "defending" champions - it is a stance he repeated throughout his extensive media duties yesterday. In the spirit of attack being the best form of defence, Buttler wants his side to attack their way as they eye back-to-back titles. Matt Roller has got more here.
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Survival of the fittest?

Over the next month and a half, each team will play at least nine matches, travelling across the length and breadth of India. The different conditions will not only test players' skills but also fitness. Will it be the survival of the fittest? On the tactical side, Sid Monga has got you covered.
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Who will be the four semi-finalists?

Last time it was England, New Zealand, Australia and India. Will we see a repeat?
And who will score the most runs, and who will take the most wickets? And how many batters will be run out backing up at the non-striker's end? Our experts predict.
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A sunny day in Ahmedabad

Monga is keeping an eye on the weather, and reports it's bright and sunny. A few days ago, he also traced what has changed since the last time the World Cup was in India.
If you are looking for a quick snapshot of each team, click here for England and here for New Zealand.
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Ten World Cup captains walk into a bar…

Errr, Gujarat is a dry state (for a moment, let’s ignore the privileges that come with a foreign passport). So what happens when ten World Cup captains are put in one room? Matt Roller was at the Gujarat Cricket Association clubhouse to find out.
Sidharth Monga was there as well, thinking of something very different but extremely important: the climate crisis.
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Hello and welcome…back

So where were we?
Jofra Archer steamed in, bowled full and into the pads. Martin Guptill clipped it towards deep midwicket, put his head down and ran for two. Jason Roy charged in from the boundary, picked it up and fired in the throw. Jos Buttler moved next to the stumps, collected it and dived to break the wicket. Guptill is short. The Super Over is tied. And England have won the 2019 World Cup, moments after Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in an equally epic Wimbledon final.
There we were.
Many still think it wasn’t a fair and just outcome. So fate – or, more likely, the ICC and BCCI – decided that the 2023 ODI World Cup will kick off with those two teams facing each other once again, as if in a continuation of the events from four years ago.
Three out of four protagonists from that last ball, however, will not be involved this time, at least not today in Ahmedabad. Archer, Roy and Guptill are not of the World Cup squads. Buttler will be there, leading England, but Kane Williamson, the designated New Zealand captain then and now, will sit out to recover fully from his knee injury. Ben Stokes, another main character from the 2019 final, is also doubtful with a hip niggle.
All that should not dampen the festival-like atmosphere, though. The ODI World Cup is back in India after 12 years, like a Kumbh Mela. Let the celebrations begin.
I am Hemant Brar and will bring you all the updates as we build towards the opening game. To start with, here’s Andrew Miller’s scene-setter.
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Language
English
Win Probability
NZ 100%
ENGNZ
100%50%100%ENG InningsNZ Innings

Over 37 • NZ 283/1

New Zealand won by 9 wickets (with 82 balls remaining)
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ICC Cricket World Cup
TEAMMWLPTNRR
IND990182.570
SA972141.261
AUS972140.841
NZ954100.743
PAK9458-0.199
AFG9458-0.336
ENG9366-0.572
BAN9274-1.087
SL9274-1.419
NED9274-1.825