An all-around England breezed past their New Zealand counterparts beating them by 87 runs to become the first team to secure a spot in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy. After posting a total of 310, the English bowlers executed a well-thought plan to restrict the Kiwi batting lineup to 223.
Brief Scores: England 310/10 (Joe Root 64, Jos Buttler 61*; Corey Anderson 3/55, Adam Milne 3/79) beat New Zealand 223/10 (Kane Williamson 87, Ross Taylor 39; Liam Plunkett 4/55, Jake Ball 2/31) by 87 runs.
New Zealand won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bowl first citing the weather forecast as the reason for their choice. While New Zealand remained unchanged from their match against Australia, England
Hales and Root
setup the perfect platform for a huge total
Alex Hales and Jason Roy started the proceedings for the hosts giving them a balanced start with the perfect mix of singles and boundaries. However, the Kiwis struck as early as the 8th over when Adam Milne sent Roy (13) packing with the score at 37. Joe Root then joined Hales and the two complemented each other beautifully as they crossed the 50-run mark at the end of the first powerplay. Root, then, anchored the innings giving Hales the liberty to free his arms and the two weaved a gritty 81-run partnership for the second wicket. Hales also brought up his 11th half century in the process before being bowled out by Milne who scalped his second of the match and got the Kiwis the much-needed breakthrough. Skipper Eoin Morgan then joined Joe Root and the two rotated the strike quite well to keep the run rate to a decent 5
Buttler and Stokes power England over 300
Joe Root then reaped the benefits of his well-paced innings when he got to the 50-run mark in the 26th over and Ben Stokes, who came in after the dismissal of skipper Morgan, wasted no time and started smashing the New Zealand bowlers to every corner of the ground. It was Corey Anderson who came to New Zealand’s rescue when he sent the set Root back to the pavilion in the 34th over raising hopes for the Kiwis to pull the scoring back at just the right time. Stokes, however, continued his explosive batting stint along with Jos Buttler giving the English keeper ample time to set his eye in the game. However, the English all-rounder squandered away his wicket at a crucial moment and it looked as if New Zealand had successfully pulled the score back by approximately 60-70 runs with England at 212/5 with 12 to play. Butler then took Cardiff by storm as he stepped on the gas and smashed the Kiwi bowlers to all parts of the ground. Even though wickets kept tumbling at the other end, Butler kept scoring at an excellent pace and reached his fifty in 41 deliveries. The English wicketkeeper, eventually, finished with an unbeaten 61 and helped his side get past the 300 mark for the second time in the tournament as the hosts ended the innings at 310.
Williamson rescues the Kiwis after another stumbling start
Jake Ball proved his worth in the very first over of the game when he bowled out Luke Ronchi for a duck and gave the hosts the perfect start. Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill then took on the responsibility of rebuilding the innings and did the job quite well as the Kiwis ended the first
English pacemen put on a stellar show to seal a semi-final berth
Mark Wood did the trick for the hosts and shifted the momentum of the game back in his side’s favor when his cracking short delivery got the better of the Kiwi skipper which resulted in Williamson taking a long walk back to the dressing room after scoring a commendable 87. Eoin Morgan then piled up the pressure on the Kiwis by attacking the batsmen with pace bowling from both ends which eventually resulted in the crucial wicket of Ross Taylor whose batting abilities could have hampered England’s chances of bagging the two points. James Neesham tried to head his side home when he took on the English bowling. However, his efforts came to an abrupt end when Liam Plunkett successfully deceived the Kiwi ending his 18-run cameo. Adil Rashid then proved useful and got rid of Neil Broom. From thereon it was smooth sailing for the Three Lions as their bowlers’ disciplined line and length put the match beyond the Kiwis reach who eventually were dismissed for 223. With the win England became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals while the Kiwis would now need the home side to do them a favour by beating Australia in their last game to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
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