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‘We’re not robots’: Jos Buttler admits England outplayed by New Zealand

Jos Buttler said England had been “completely outplayed” as their World Cup campaign started with a nine-wicket humbling by New Zealand but said the result was not evidence that his side’s white-ball crown had slipped – just that they are human.

“We’re not robots,” Buttler said. “Sometimes you don’t play as well as you’d like. Everyone’s working hard, everyone’s prepared well, we were just a little bit off. In international cricket if you’re a bit short and the opposition play well you’re going to lose. But it’s one loss. It’s a tough one but we’ll be better for the next one.”

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Devon Conway scored 152 and Rachin Ravindra 123, both unbeaten, as the Black Caps sprinted across the finish line with 82 balls remaining – dealing a savage blow not just to England’s confidence but to their net run-rate. But Buttler’s side won the 2019 World Cup, played using the same format as this year’s event, despite losing three of their nine group games and will be aware that this defeat was not ruinous.

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“Whether you lose by a run or like that it is one loss, at the start of a very long tournament. That’s what I’ll be encouraging everyone to remember,” Buttler said. “We were outplayed but we’ve got a lot of experience in the room, guys who’ve faced defeats like that before. When we win a game we don’t get too high, and we don’t get too low when we lose.”

Buttler said he too would have chosen to bowl had he won the toss, and that the pitch appeared to become easier to bat on as the game progressed, but said England’s batting had been poor. They toiled to a total of 282 for nine, becoming the first ODI team – either male or female – in which all 11 players reached double figures. “We weren’t clinical enough with our shot-making and gifted New Zealand a few wickets,” he said. “But we were a long way short of our best and still made 280, which shows the level we can play at.”

Ravindra and Conway are close friends and club teammates, and the pair clearly revelled in each other’s success. “Dev’s absolutely incredible, a special player, and being able to share a pitch with him was pretty class,” Ravindra said. “It was just pretty cool to share that with a guy I’ve spent a lot of time with over the past five or six years, seeing how he’s risen to be one of the best batsmen in the world. It’s pretty cool to share that time with him.”