Cricket World Cup Preview: England vs. New Zealand

The 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India will kick off with a highly anticipated clash between England and New Zealand, reminiscent of the 2019 final. The two teams recently squared off in a four-match series in England in September, building anticipation for their showdown on the grand stage. The question now looms: Which team will emerge victorious in this crucial encounter?

We break down the game below.

England vs. New Zealand – Thursday at 09:30

The opening match of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup will take place at the magnificent Narendra Modi Stadium, boasting a staggering seating capacity of 132,000. Interestingly, it won’t be the host country, India, taking the field in this inaugural encounter.

Instead, it’s a revisit of the 2019 final that will kick off this six-week extravaganza, with England and New Zealand crossing paths for the fifth time in just over a month. England emerged victorious with a 3-1 series win in the recent ODI series, but they’re mindful that the Kiwis, for the most part, didn’t field their full-strength team.

Assessing these nations in terms of One Day Internationals (ODIs) is challenging, given the reduced frequency of the format’s play. Unlike 2019, when England devoted considerable effort to refining their 50-over game, ODIs have taken a back seat to the burgeoning popularity of T20s and the efforts to preserve Test cricket at the elite level.

However, if we draw from the four matches played between these teams in September, England seems justified in starting as favorites. William Hill offers odds of 4/9 for an opening-day victory for the current titleholders. Dawid Malan, in fine form after impressive performances in those four games, shares 3/1 odds with Jonny Bairstow as the favorites to score the most runs for England on Thursday. While Joe Root’s odds of 10/3 may not provide great value given his current form, keep an eye on Jos Buttler (11/2), who has been contributing significantly at number five.

New Zealand’s depth in white-ball cricket might not be remarkable, but with their full XI, they possess one of the most competitive teams globally. The return of the formidable Trent Boult is a significant boost, as seen when he dismantled England’s top order in Cardiff last month. The opening duo of Devon Conway and Finn Allen wouldn’t look out of place in a quality IPL side.

To secure a win on Thursday, the Kiwis will have to overcome odds of 7/4. However, as the 2021 T20 World Cup semi-final demonstrated, underestimating New Zealand is a costly mistake. Their fielding will be exemplary, and their mid-overs bowling disciplined. The question lies in whether they have enough firepower with the bat to challenge the top sides.

Regarding batsmen, left-handed Conway leads the betting at 11/4 to score the most runs for New Zealand, followed by Will Young (4/1). Nevertheless, consider the odds for either Daryl Mitchell (9/2), who has troubled England over the years, or the aggressive Glenn Phillips (5/1), with IPL experience in Indian conditions.

Predictably, Trent Boult is the favorite to pick up the most wickets for New Zealand at 9/4. Meanwhile, for England, leg-spinner Adil Rashid (10/3) will aim to capitalize on the dry Indian surfaces, with the express pace of Mark Wood (10/3) also posing a significant threat.

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