New Zealand's stand-in captain Tom Latham was delighted to have found a new hero in ton-up Rachin Ravindra as they began their World Cup campaign, obliterating champions England by 9 wickets on Thursday. The 23-year-old Ravindra (123 not out) combined with senior pro Devon Conway (152 not out) to complete a mauling of England after their bowlers set it up with measly spells. (Scorecard | Highlights | Full Coverage)
"Obviously, a fantastic partnership between Rachin and Devon. From the 30-over mark onwards, to restrict them to 280 was fantastic," Latham said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Not done with praises for the centurion duo, Latham added, "Probably, the most pleasing thing was Devon and Rachin just reacted to what was being bowled. Rachin played a fantastic innings and was proud of him. Looking forward to getting around him tonight."
Opting to field after winning the toss, New Zealand bowlers did well to restrict a flamboyant England line-up to 282 for 9 in the allotted 50 overs, and that was not lost on Latham. "It has been a quick build-up - the warm-ups and guys from Bangladesh. We've played a bit in these conditions and I thought we adapted to these conditions beautifully.
"The two seamers - Henners (Matt Henry) and Boulty (Trent Boult) - did a great job and took wickets at crucial times. To restrict them to 280 was outstanding," Latham said.
One of the top white-ball batters of the modern game, England captain Jos Buttler had no qualms in admitting that his team was outclassed.
"Disappointing day. Very much outplayed by New Zealand and tough defeat to take. It's still one loss in a long tournament.
"I think a lot of guys in our team have played a lot of cricket - we won't be too down on ourselves and won't be too high on the other side," Buttler said.
The Somersetman added, "I thought we were well below par. We were aiming for somewhere around 330 and it (the pitch) somewhat played better under lights. We just lacked being clinical with execution. Some of the dismissals were right shots but not executed properly.
"I think NZ played some great cricket shots and got great value for them. Devon Conway - can't think of massive shots but he scored quickly. Him and Rachin put together a fantastic partnership and we were well beaten.
"I think the pitch skidded on better under lights but we played a long way short of our best."
Buttler said Test specialist Joe Root, who top-scored for England with an 86-ball 77, has been their "best player for a long time."
Asked about the injury status of Ben Stokes, he said, "We will wait and see. Fingers crossed, he can get fit as soon as possible."
While Conway got his runs off only 121 balls, Man of the Match Ravindra needed just 96 deliveries to make his runs, and he thanked his senior partner for guiding him in his maiden World Cup game.
"Sometimes it's unbelievable at times, but great to have a great day out. The bowlers bowled well and were lucky enough to have Devon out there. I spent a lot of time with Devon and we are very, very close mates," he said.
"I was a little more comfortable and I had a lot of chat with Dev - being able to do that in the middle is cool.
"For sure, if you asked us four-five years ago, we all knew the kind of player Dev would become. The surface was very good and lovely to bat on, similar to the warm-up game in Hyderabad," Ravindra added.