After months of anticipation and preparation, the ICC Men’s Cricket ODI World Cup 2023 finally got underway on Thursday, October 5, with defending champions England locking horns with New Zealand at the colossal Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

A stadium fit for history

The Narendra Modi Stadium boasts an astounding capacity of 132,000, making it the largest cricket ground globally. However, the surprising sight of empty stands greeted the finalists of the 2019 World Cup. The lack of spectators in the stadium raised eyebrows and generated sharp reactions on social media. Many netizens questioned the interest level among fans for this high-profile game and even debated India‘s suitability as a venue for such a prestigious tournament.

Fans express their frustration on social media

Fans on X (formerly Twitter) expressed their astonishment at the sight of empty seats during the marquee event opener. Despite the fanfare surrounding the tournament, the absence of spectators came as a surprise.

Here are the reactions:

Also READ: Rohit Sharma discusses the prospect of the host nation clinching the World Cup

England’s batting display

In the match, New Zealand won the toss and elected to field first, putting the defending champions, England to bat. England’s batting got off to a steady start but saw wickets tumble in the middle overs. Opener Dawid Malan (14) was the first to fall, caught behind off a delivery from New Zealand pacer Matt Henry.

Jonny Bairstow (33), who made a brisk start, was the next to depart, falling to spinner Mitchell Santner in the 13th over.

Harry Brook, replacing Jason Roy in England’s World Cup squad, managed to score 25 runs off 16 balls before being dismissed by spinner Rachin Ravindra. The wickets continued to fall, with spin-bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali being dismissed by Glenn Phillips in the 22nd over after scoring 11 runs.

Joe Root and Jos Buttler partnership but the Blackcaps maintains dominance

Despite early setbacks, England’s Joe Root and Jos Buttler (43) demonstrated resilience, forging a partnership that added a valuable 70 runs to the scoreboard. Nevertheless, England suffered a series of dismissals, including Buttler and Liam Livingstone (20). Root, who top-scored with an impressive 77 runs, eventually succumbed to the off-spin of Phillips.

Unfortunately, England couldn’t stage a significant recovery and scored only 282/9. New Zealand’s Matt Henry emerged as the standout bowler, picking three crucial wickets, while Santner and Phillips each contributed with two dismissals.

Also WATCH: Joe Root’s spectacular reverse scoop delights fans in ENG vs NZ clash

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