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‘Unbelievable’ as Conway, Ravindra help New Zealand crush England

Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra smashed centuries to power New Zealand to a crushing nine-wicket win over defending champions England in the opening match of the World Cup on Thursday.

England, who were without talismanic Ben Stokes due to a hip injury, were restricted to 282-9 after the Kiwis elected to bowl at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.

The left-handed pair of Conway (152) and Ravindra (123) then put on an unbeaten stand of 273 for the second wicket as the Black Caps comfortably overhauled the target with 13.4 overs to spare.

The result was a contrast to the epic World Cup final at Lord’s in 2019 between the two teams when England won a tied match on boundary count back.

“Sometimes it’s unbelievable at times, but great to have a great day out,” said Ravindra.

“The bowlers bowled well and we were lucky enough to have Devon out there. I have spent a lot of time with Dev and we are very, very close mates.”

New Zealand, led by Tom Latham in the absence of regular skipper Kane Williamson, kept England down to a below-par total despite Joe Root’s 77.

Ravindra and Conway made short work of the target as they smashed the opposition bowlers all around the ground after losing Will Young early to left-arm quick Sam Curran.
Conway hit the first ton of the tournament off 83 balls studded with 13 fours and two sixes and soon reached 1,000 runs in 23 ODI matches.

The 23-year-old Ravindra quickly followed with his maiden ODI century off 82 balls with nine fours and four sixes, raising his bat to acknowledge the smattering of fans inside the 132,000-capacity arena.

Conway surpassed his previous best of 138 as he and Ravindra pummelled the bowlers for an emphatic win which also provided an early boost to their net run-rate.

“It was a disappointing day,” admitted England captain Jos Buttler.

“We were very much outplayed by New Zealand but it’s still just one loss in a long tournament.”

Earlier, fast bowler Matt Henry returned figures of 3-48 for the New Zealand while spinners Mitchell Santner and Glenn Phillips took two wickets each.

Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow gave England a brisk start but Malan fell, caught behind off Henry and Bairstow’s knock was cut short by Santner, who got the batsman out for 33 off his left-arm spin.

Harry Brook took on Ravindra in the left-arm spinner’s first over to smash two fours and a six before the bowler had his revenge on the final delivery.

Brook, coming into the starting line-up for Stokes, attempted another big hit and was caught at deep mid-wicket.

Root reached his 37th ODI half-century off 57 balls, an innings laced with two fours and one six off a reverse scoop shot.

But he fell to Phillips’ off-spin while attempting a reverse sweep and England slipped further before Adil Rashid (15) and Mark Wood (13) ensured the team played out their 50 overs with an unbeaten stand of 30.