The 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup kicked off in style as perennial underdogs New Zealand surprised defending champions England with a dominant nine-wicket win in Ahmedabad on October 5. Despite missing key players like Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, and Lockie Ferguson, the Kiwis showed remarkable resilience, limiting the powerful English team to a below-par score of 282/9 in 50 overs.
However, the real fireworks came when opener Devon Conway and spin-bowling all-rounder Rachin Ravindra both scored sensational centuries to leave Jos Buttler’s Men in shock. While every World Cup century is significant and cherished, achieving one on the tournament’s opening day adds an extra layer of excitement and remains etched in memory.
In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and revisit the top 5 editions of the ODI World Cup, highlighting all the centurions from the first day of each tournament.
1. Virender Sehwag vs Bangladesh, 2011
In 2011, Virender Sehwag’s remarkable score of 175 runs also ranks as the eighth-highest individual score in World Cup history. It ties him in the second position with Kapil Dev, just behind Sourav Ganguly’s 183 in 1999. During his illustrious career, Sehwag amassed over 17,000 runs for India and remains the sole Indian batsman to achieve a triple-century in Tests and a double-century in ODIs.
2. Virat Kohli vs Bangladesh, 2011
In the same match, Virender Sehwag was joined by fellow Delhi cricketer Virat Kohli, who crafted an impressive century, scoring 100* off 83 deliveries. This dynamic duo disheartened the Bangladesh bowlers with a 203-run partnership, propelling India to a commanding total of 370/4 in 50 overs. Bangladesh struggled in their response and fell short by 87 runs.
This victory set a positive tone for Team India’s successful campaign, leading them to their second ODI World Cup title after defeating Sri Lanka in the final. Virat Kohli’s career has since skyrocketed, with the batsman becoming the fastest to reach 13,000 ODI runs and boasting a remarkable 47 centuries in the 50-over format, trailing only Sachin Tendulkar’s record by two centuries.
3. Aaron Finch vs England, 2015
The 2015 World Cup commenced with a bang, courtesy of a dominant century by former Australia captain Aaron Finch in the opening match against arch-rivals England at the MCG. Finch aggressively took on the English attack, scoring an impressive 135 off 128 balls, featuring 12 fours and three sixes. His performance propelled Australia to a total of 342 in 50 overs, securing a comfortable 111-run victory over England.
This win set the stage for Australia’s successful campaign, as they clinched their fifth World Cup, their fourth in the previous five years. Finch had productive outings in both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, accumulating nearly 800 runs with an average of 43.72 and a strike rate exceeding 98.
4. Devon Conway vs England, 2023
With extraordinary precision and impeccable gap-finding, left-handed batsman Devon Conway dismantled the defending champions, guiding the Black Caps to a remarkable nine-wicket victory with nearly 14 overs to spare. In his relatively young career, Conway has established himself as a cornerstone of the New Zealand batting lineup, boasting an impressive Test and ODI average of over 50.
5. Rachin Ravindra vs England, 2023
In his World Cup debut, the left-handed spin-bowling all-rounder Rachin Ravindra displayed a dazzling performance, scoring a scintillating 123* off 96 balls while batting at No.3. His entertaining knock made him the youngest Kiwi batsman to notch a century in the World Cup.
Ravindra, who had previously impressed with a lively 97 off 72 in a warm-up fixture against Pakistan, formed an unbeaten 273-run partnership with Devon Conway, transforming a seemingly challenging run chase into a one-sided affair. This remarkable performance allowed New Zealand to avenge their heartbreaking 2019 World Cup final loss to England.