New Zealand‘s regular captain, Kane Williamson, has been ruled out of the team’s second fixture in the ODI World Cup 2023 against the Netherlands due to a persistent knee injury. This extends his absence, as he was also unavailable for the opening fixture against England.

The 33-year-old initially sustained this injury during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, sidelining him for a significant portion of New Zealand’s games leading up to the 2023 World Cup. Despite these setbacks, Williamson showed promising form in the two World Cup warm-up matches, contributing scores of 37 and an unbeaten 54* against South Africa and Pakistan, respectively.

Gary Stead’s update on Kane Williamson’s participation

New Zealand’s head coach, Gary Stead, has provided an update on the exclusion of Williamson for the upcoming game against the Netherlands in Hyderabad. Stead also strongly hinted about the inclusion of bowlers Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee, both of whom were rested during the England clash.

“Kane’s also been progressing very well. I think the fielding is still the element for him that he’s just got to get a little bit higher and get a little more trust in his body. But he is progressing really well and we are pretty confident he will be playing the third match for us. We have got another training to get through today so we will finalize the team once we have got through that training,” Stead was quoted as saying by the ICC.

“Lockie Ferguson got through training really well so providing he is scrubbed up okay this morning, he will be available for this next game. Tim Southee also got through the training really well. It was great to see him back at the bowling crease and also doing a little bit of fielding as well,” Stead concluded.

Also READ: ODI World Cup 2023: Netizens laud Team India after bowlers pack Australia for 199 in Chepauk

Rachin Ravindra’s stellar ODI World Cup debut

In the absence of Williamson, Blackcaps introduced Rachin Ravindra to the ODI World Cup stage in the game against England. Ravindra made an impressive debut, achieving the distinction of scoring the fastest World Cup century for New Zealand. He concluded his innings unbeaten with a remarkable 123 runs off 96 balls, earning him the well-deserved title of Player of the Match.

Ravindra’s stellar performance, in partnership with Devon Conway‘s outstanding 152 not out, resulted in a dominant 274-run stand that dismantled England’s bowling attack. This partnership led New Zealand to a convincing nine-wicket victory in Ahmedabad, as they comfortably chased down the target of 284 with nine wickets in hand.

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