BARROVIAN cricketer Liam Livingstone scored 20 runs as England began their World Cup defence with a nine-wicket defeat against New Zealand.

England set a target of 282/9 after 50 overs for the All Blacks on October 5 at the Narenda Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, which they ran down with ease to avenge their 2019 ICC World Cup final defeat to the Three Lions.

Sam Curren got England off to a fantastic start by taking the wicket of Will Young for a golden duck in his first ball, but Chris Woakes and Mark Wood were unable to put a dent in Devon Conway (152 n/o) and Rachin Ravindra (123 n/o).

The pair struck up an incredible partnership by both smashing away centuries on their World Cup debuts, which was enough for New Zealand to record the victory after just 36.2 overs.

Earlier in the day, wickets tumbled at regular intervals as opening batsman Dawid Malen was dismissed by wicket keeper Tom Latham from Matt Henry’s delivery, and Jonny Bairstow was soon after dismissed for 33 runs by Daryl Mitchell at long-off.

Joe Root then entered the crease in the 8th over fresh off the back of his unbeaten 26 in England’s warm-up win against Bangladesh and steadied the ship by top-scoring with 77 off 86 balls before eventually being bowled by Glen Phillips.

Captain Joss Buttler hit 43 off 42 balls sharing in a 70-run partnership with Root, while Harry Brook, playing in absence of Ben Stokes managed 25.

All-rounder Livingstone smashed three balls away to the boundary when in partnership with Joe Root but was caught out by Matt Henry at long-on after facing 22 balls, as England failed to find any consistency.

They face Bangladesh in their next ICC World Cup match on October 10 at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala.