2023 ODI World Cup digest: New Zealand’s perfect start; Pakistan’s return to India

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The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup is underway in India and will run from October 5 until November 19. Each morning we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: Conway and Ravindra stun defending champions England

New Zealand 283 for 1 (Conway 152*, Ravindra 123*) beat England 282 for 9 (Root 77, Henry 3-48) by nine wickets

Revenge for the final of the 2019 World Cup was never going to come in the first match of the 2023 edition. But a nine-wicket demolition of England in the Ahmedabad curtain-raiser will have provided New Zealand ample satisfaction. The defending champions have been battered, comprehensively, wearing what might end up being one of the most emphatic beatings of the tournament.

Pursuit of a target of 283 came with 82 balls to spare thanks to a brutal southpaw combination, with an unbeaten 152 from Devon Conway and an unbeaten 123 from Rachin Ravindra – ODI centuries number five and one, respectively. The former broke Martin Guptill’s 88-ball record for the fastest 50-overs World Cup century by a New Zealander, bringing his up in just 83, before Ravindra went one ball better to become the country’s youngest centurion in a global tournament at 23. Together, these two Wellington teammates now possess the Blackcaps’ highest partnership in the tournament’s history.

Match analysis: Ravindra comes of age with an innings for the dreamers

It was a moment of impudence that laid this drubbing bare. Rachin Ravindra, who watched the final of the 2019 World Cup in a bar in Bengaluru, had picked Chris Woakes’ slower ball before Woakes himself knew he was about to bowl it. When Ravindra swung it back over the bowler’s head for six, his back leg gave way like a flamingo’s.

By that stage, New Zealand were already cruising towards their nine-wicket win, needing a shade over four runs per over. But Ravindra saw no reason to slow down: the youngest man on the pitch played the fearless cricket considered England’s hallmark. When he flicked the winning run into the leg side, New Zealand had romped home with 82 balls to spare: so much for the barest of margins.

Must Watch: Anil Kumble on the absence of Ben Stokes2>

News headlines

Australia have an injury concern around Marcus Stoinis ahead of their opening match against India after the allrounder picked up a hamstring niggle. He has not played in any of the the last four games. Team director Mickey Arthur has backed the ‘Pakistan way’, their own aggressive brand of cricket, to be successful at the World Cup. “I think our bowling attack is up there as one of the best. And with runs on the board, our bowlers can generally defend that,” he said.

Match preview

Netherlands vs Pakistan, Hyderabad (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEST)

Pakistan thought they were in pole position less than a month ago when their three prime fast bowlers were fit and firing, but things have taken a nosedive since. Pakistan finished bottom of the Super 4s at the Asia Cup and Naseem Shah has been ruled out of the tournament since.

Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman’s poor form has become something of a rut, and the warm-ups saw Pakistan lose by six overs to spare after posting 345 against New Zealand, before conceding 351 against Australia. They should be good enough for this Netherlands side not to worry them too much, but taking things for granted in a World Cup is dangerous business.

Team news

Pakistan (possible XI): 1 Fakhar Zaman, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Saud Shakeel/Salman Ali Agha, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Haris Rauf

Netherlands (possible XI): 1 Vikramjit Singh, 2 Max O’Dowd, 3 Wesley Barresi, 4 Bas de Leede, 5 Colin Ackermann, 6 Scott Edwards (capt &wk), 7 Ryan Klein, 8 Logan van Beek, 9 Roelof van der Merwe, 10 Shariz Ahmed, 11 Paul van Meekeren

Feature: Pakistan’s Hyderabad experience: heavy security, thoughtful hospitality

Babar Azam is all smiles at Pakistan’s training ahead of their World Cup opener•Getty Images

Behind the police jeeps, there’s a van full of trained commandos that makes a swift entry. As they disembark, their chief issues orders detailing the areas they will survey and the activities they have to carry out. A local liaison officer is then briefed by the security chief, and plans are relayed across walkie-talkies to various department heads around the venue.

It’s not hard to understand why security is so elaborate. There’s body frisking at every entry point; those with a valid pass only have it slightly better than many others, and fans making a beeline outside the gates to catch a glimpse of the players, or those trying to get hold of tickets, are kept out.

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