Jos Buttler makes honest admission after crushing defeat against New Zealand

New Zealand thumped England by nine wickets in World Cup opening game

By Web Desk
October 05, 2023
Jos Buttler - AFP

England's captain Jos Buttler conceded that his team fell significantly short of their best as they suffered a resounding nine-wicket defeat to New Zealand on the opening night of the tournament in Ahmedabad.

Opting to bat first, England struggled throughout their innings, managing a total of 282 for 9 while losing wickets at regular intervals. Buttler expressed his belief that they were at least 50 runs below par with the bat. Despite a promising start when Sam Curran claimed a wicket with the first ball of the second over, it proved to be the lone bright spot for England in the bowling department.

The match was characterised by a historic 273-run partnership between Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra, which propelled New Zealand to victory with a substantial 13.4 overs to spare. Buttler suggested that the pitch had improved for batting under the floodlights but highlighted England's lack of precision in executing their shots as a key factor in their downfall.

"A disappointing day, very much outplayed by New Zealand and a tough defeat to take," Buttler said at the post-match presentation. "It is one loss, whether we lost by a run or the margin we did today, it's one loss at the start of a long tournament.

"There's a lot of guys in our team, who've played a lot of cricket. We've beaten teams this way before and been on the end of these results before as well. We won't read too much into it, won't get too down on ourselves as much as we wouldn't get too high if we were on the other side."

While all 11 of England's players managed to reach double figures, only Joe Root surpassed the 50-run mark, and the highest partnership of the innings was the 70-run collaboration between Root and Buttler for the fifth wicket. The defeat serves as a stark reminder for England, who will be looking to regroup and showcase their true potential in the upcoming matches of the tournament.

"I thought we were well below par," he said. "Judging by the way New Zealand batted, they showed that. I thought we were aiming for 330, it felt like it was a really good wicket to bat on and it probably got even better under lights as well. Just with the score we had and the start they got off to, it's tough to build any pressure.

"We lacked being a bit clinical with our execution. Some of the dismissals were the right shots but just not quite executed correctly. We'll keep being positive, we'll keep playing our way. It shows you have to get good scores on the board if you're going to defend them on really good wickets. You can't be too defensive. I think we were just not quite clinical enough with our shot-making and our execution.

"They played some really good cricket shots and got great value for them. I thought the margin for error on that pitch was very small and in that powerplay, someone like Devon Conway - I can't think of any massive shots he played but he scored very quickly, and the same for Rachin Ravindra as well. The two guys played exceptionally well, they put together a fantastic partnership and we were well beaten today.

"I think conditions changed, the pitch skidded on even better under lights in the second half, that's why we would have bowled first as well. But I still think it was a good wicket, I think we played a long way short of our best with the bat and still made 280. If we were closer to our best, I think we would have got up to a score which we may have defended - but with the conditions or the skill that New Zealand showed, it may still not have been enough."

England were without Ben Stokes, who was suffering from a hip niggle in the build-up, and Buttler said they would "wait and see" on his availability to face Bangladesh next Tuesday. "Fingers crossed he can get fit as soon as possible."