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England V New Zealand: Cricket World Cup 2023 Opener – Live

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The 2023 World Cup will begin with Trent Boult bowling to Jonny Bairstow. Mind the gap.

The teams line up for the anthems on a sweltering hot day. The Narendra Modi Stadium, which holds about half a trillion, is almost empty.

1. Head-to-head data is an untapped goldmine of cricket coverage.

2. The first few overs of the 2023 World Cup could be very interesting.

Trent Boult’s ODI Bowling Average v England’s likely top three:

v Jonny Bairstow – 20.25 (four wickets)

v Dawid Malan – 11.00 (one wicket)

v Joe Root – 18.00 (five wickets)#CWC2023

— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) October 5, 2023“The two Dad’s Army teams kick off the competition, but am I the only one not overly positive about England’s chances in this tournament?” wonders Kevin Wilson. “Yes, they’ve been the best white-ball side in the world (probably) for the last few years, but I wonder whether they’re past their peak, and it could all unravel in this tournament. India, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa are all going to be the mix, and in the subcontinent, even the other three Asian sides will be more of a challenge.”

This is the exciting thing – nobody really knows. There’s a fair chance that at least one of the three older teams (England, New Zealand, Australia) will find it a tournament too far. There’s also a chance that, like Australia’s geriatricos in 2007, England will have too much power experience of winning for the rest.

On today of all days, you can never have enough World Cup quizzes. Here’s another from our old friend Steven Pye.

Is rain going to be a thing? Very possibly. India are this year’s hosts, and though October is towards the tail-end of their rainy season, in some of the host cities it is some way away from being dry.

World Cup quiz!

So, 114 gentlemen have appeared for England at an ODI World Cup. How many can you name?

Mullally, Stewart… Ealham? Photograph: Max Nash/APThe teams in fullEngland Bairstow, Malan, Root, Brook, Buttler (c/wk), Livingstone, Ali, Curran, Woakes, Rashid, Wood.

New Zealand Young, Conway, Ravindra, Mitchell, Latham (c/wk), Phillips, Chapman, Neesham, Santner, Ravindra, Henry, Boult.

Team news: Stokes, Williamson, Ferguson out injuredAs expected, Harry Brook replaces the injured Ben Stokes, and Sam Curran is preferred to Reece Topley as third seamer. The pacy Lockie Ferguson also misses out through injury for New Zealand; that’s a blow because they have no like-for-like replacement in their squad. Instead they have beefed up their batting by including Mark Chapman. It looks like Rachin Ravindra will bat at No3, keeping the seat warm for Kane Williamson.

New Zealand win the toss and bowlThe stand-in captain Tom Latham has put England in, which means an early trial by Trent Boult for the top order. Dew may also be a factor, so that feels like a decent toss to win. Jos Buttler said England would have bowled but that he “can’t wait to get going”.

A team-by-team guide to the World Cup

Look out for Bas de Leede, who produced the most astonishing performance against Scotland to secure qualification for the Netherlands.

“Do you reckon we will smash runscoring records at this World Cup?” writes Abhinav. “I feel like the game has changed dramatically since the last one – England being one of the drivers of change.”

A score of 500 is definitely on the table, although I’m not sure it will happen this time. I don’t think batting has changed that much since 2019, except maybe at the death, but there should be more flat and/or fast pitches than in England in 2019. There were no scores of 400 four years ago; I’d be surprised if that’s the case here.

This video is superbly done, as always, but in truth England – Dawid Malan and David Willey aside – haven’t done much since 2019. That’s not a criticism; it was a largely unavoidable consequence of Covid, scheduling and Bazball.

Even so, the contrast in preparation is fascinating. In 2019, England, with no success to fall back on, were desperate to go into the tournament as world No1. This time, partly out of necessity, there is a relaxed, it’ll-be-alright-on-the-night attitude. It worked in Australia last year, and there wasn’t really an alternative.

The dignity and humour with which New Zealand accepted defeat (sic) in 2019 becomes more impressive with every passing football match year.

Who do you fancy? Despite their wretched recent record in ICC knockout matches, I struggle to see beyond India. I think they’ll build up enough momentum in the group stage to reduce the psychological impact of that poor record.

Early team news

England are likely to be without Ben Stokes, who has a peedie hip problem, so Harry Brook will come into the side. No official word yet on the seamers, though it’s likely that either Sam Curran or Reece Topley will start alongside Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

New Zealand are missing an equally important player, their captain Kane Williamson, who is managing the serious knee injury he suffered at the IPL. Their top order looks lightish in his absence but they have a cracking, varied bowling attack, led by the majestic Trent Boult.

The first email of the 2023 World Cup!

“Morning Rob, what a day,” writes Guy Hornsby. “The strange situation of a match I’m really excited about but also we all know can’t possibly match up to its predecessor. But it should be a cracker. The two teams of (mostly) Expendables, back for one last mission. Topley or Wood, Mo or Curran? Black Caps minus Williamson and Southee and with some newer hit-or-bust batters. Oddly a loss probably won’t hurt either team, but a drubbing might. Bring on the pain!”

I reckon a loss will hurt either team, even at this stage – it looks a very tight squeeze for the semi-final.

Read Simon Burnton’s tournament preview

PreambleSo the story begins. Ten teams, 45 days, 48 matches and not a single boundary countback: the 2023 World Cup is upon us. The hosts are usually involved on opening night, but for the BCCI’s chief schedulers, a repeat of the greatest ever ODI final* proved irresistible.

The tournament starts with England v New Zealand in Ahmedabad – just as it did, a little weirdly, the last time the hosts weren’t involved in the first game. That was in 1996, when England were living on a different white-ball planet (or, rather, commuting from Planet Red Ball). This year they start as holders of both white-ball trophies and second favourites behind the hosts India.

The format – everybody plays everybody, with the top four going through to the semi-finals – makes this World Cup a marathon, not a sprint. But it’s still important to get out of the blocks apace. England know from the (mercifully transitory) horrors of 2019 that an early defeat can be a significant sliding door.

England and New Zealand have the oldest squads in the tournament, a slightly droopy nose ahead of Australia. That comes with obvious benefits and potential weaknesses. Over the next six weeks, starting today, we’ll find out where they are in relation to the top of the hill.

England already sit proudly at the top table of great white-ball teams. If they win this tournament, they’ll have a case for being the greatest of them all.

The match starts at 9.30am BST, 2pm in Ahmedabad.

* Or should that finale, given the relative poverty of the first 90 overs?

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