England were put to the sword as unbeaten hundreds from Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell helped New Zealand to victory in the first of four World Cup dress rehearsals at a sultry Sophia Gardens.
Ben Stokes marked his ODI return with a resolute 52 off 69 balls, with Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone also posting half-centuries as the hosts racked up 291 for six after batting first.
An England line-up shorn of the rested Mark Wood, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali lacked a cutting edge with the ball to stop a devastating onslaught from Conway and Mitchell, whose unbroken 180-run stand in 152 deliveries sealed a comprehensive eight-wicket win with 4.2 overs to spare.
We take a 1-0 ODI series lead in Cardiff 🏏
A 180-run partnership between Devon Conway (111*) and Daryl Mitchell (118*) leading the team to victory! 🤜🤛
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 8, 2023
Conway was immovable at the top of the order after struggling in the drawn T20 series and finished on 111 not out from 121 balls while Mitchell was imperious in his unbeaten 118 from 91 deliveries, bludgeoning seven sixes to accelerate New Zealand’s push for victory.
This was the first ODI between the teams since the dramatic 2019 World Cup final – they will also contest this year’s tournament opener in Ahmedabad on October 5 – and they laid down a marker in Cardiff.
Jos Buttler top-scored for England with 72 off 68 balls while Malan and Livingstone had decent days, given their places have come under scrutiny with Harry Brook pushing for inclusion at the World Cup.
England’s cautiousness over Jonny Bairstow’s shoulder niggle and Jason Roy succumbing to a back spasm on Friday morning meant Brook was parachuted into an unfamiliar role in opening the batting alongside Malan, who dominated an 80-run stand in 15 overs with a fluent 54 off 53 balls.
Brook is seeking to force England into a rethink over their World Cup squad after his initial omission and, having been called up late for these warm-ups, he tickled his first ball opening in List A cricket fine for a boundary while Malan settled with six lusty driven fours in the space of 18 deliveries.
Ravindra put the brakes on as Malan was castled via his pad and Brook departed for a pedestrian 25 after his glove was brushed attempting to fend off a brute of a bouncer from Lockie Ferguson, who produced a similar delivery to Stokes first up only for the ball to loop over Glenn Phillips at gully.
Joe Root made a scratchy six in his first ODI innings since July last year before top-edging a slog sweep to Mitchell in the ring off Ravindra, who conceded just eight runs in four overs before being hoisted over the shorter, straight boundary in an early demonstration of Buttler belligerence.
But England’s decision to select the extra bowler perhaps led to Stokes and Buttler reining in their attacking instincts, accumulating steadily in echoes of their 2019 World Cup final partnership.
There were only seven boundaries in their 88-run union, the last of them when Stokes joined Buttler in going past fifty by heaving a six to go with his three fours before clubbing Ravindra to cover.
Ravindra ended his spell by being taken the distance by Buttler, while Livingstone crashed three sixes in a row off the expensive Kyle Jamieson en route to 52 off 40 balls. But that did not light the touchpaper as the pair were undone within three balls of each other by Tim Southee off-cutters.
England added 89 runs in the last 10 overs, finishing with a flourish as David Willey ended a cameo 21 not out from 11 balls with a towering six, but their fast bowlers were under the pump in the reply.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 8, 2023
New Zealand’s openers raced to 61 after the powerplay – with Reece Topley leaking 17 in his second over – but Adil Rashid struck immediately, producing drift in then spin away to bowl Will Young for 29.
However, cramp restricted the Yorkshireman to a spell off the field while Gus Atkinson waited until the 16th over for his first bowl in ODIs and lacked the impact he had in T20s as one of seven bowlers used by Buttler.
After three single-figure scores in the T20s before being dropped for the series-levelling win in Nottingham, Conway returned to form in spectacular fashion, handling England’s array of bowlers with ease.
Conway was particularly proficient through cover but deferred big-hitting responsibilities to Mitchell, who dispatched Atkinson and Livingstone for straight sixes while there were also meaty pulls for four off Topley and Chris Woakes.
Conway was first to his ton, while Mitchell thumped Rashid for six-four-six to hasten New Zealand’s charge. The one-way traffic continued as New Zealand wrapped up victory in a hurry.