The Black Caps have beaten England by eight wickets in the opening game of their four-match ODI series at Sophia Gardens. This clash marked the first ODI encounter between the two teams since their iconic final at Lord’s four years ago. The Black Caps secured a significant early advantage in their lead-up to the 2023 World Cup by virtue of Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell’s dominant third-wicket partnership.
England posted a score of 291-6, with noteworthy contributions from skipper Jos Buttler (72), opener Dawid Malan (54), Ben Stokes (52), and the formidable Liam Livingstone (52).
However, Black Caps opener Devon Conway led his team’s pursuit with class. He received valuable support initially from Will Young (29) and Henry Nicholls (26). Still, it was Mitchell who stole the spotlight, demonstrating his prowess with seven sixes and seven fours, amassing an unbeaten 118 from a mere 91 balls.
Mitchell’s performance was characterized by determination and a bit of luck. He was dropped by Chris Woakes at short midwicket when reaching his half-century, a challenging chance from a pull shot off legspinner Liam Livingstone. Meanwhile, Conway’s unbeaten 111 featured 13 fours and a game-ending six, wrapping up the match with more than four overs to spare.
Before this electrifying showdown, Rachin Ravindra excelled with the ball for New Zealand, securing figures of 3-48 from his 10 overs. The left-arm spinner, likely to secure the third spinner’s spot in the World Cup squad, starred in the absence of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. He dismissed Stokes, the pivotal figure of the 2019 final between the two sides, just two balls after Stokes had hit him for six to bring up his half-century.
With this victory, the Black Caps have secured an early advantage and an upper hand against England as they continue to prepare for the upcoming 2023 World Cup clash in India.