New Zealand defeat England by five wickets to reach T20 World Cup final

(Cricket news) Tournament favourites England were knocked out of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in a thrilling semi-final clash against New Zealand at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The Kiwis won by five wickets over the Three Lions to progress into the finals where they will face either Pakistan or Australia depending on the result of the other semi-final fixture.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field and England openers Jos Buttler (29 runs off 24) and Jonny Bairstow (13 runs off 17) got off to a cautious start with New Zealand pacers Tim Southee and Trent Boult getting some decent swing with the new ball. Buttler did find his rhythm, scoring back-to-back boundaries on Boult’s deliveries while Bairstow also added a four but was caught by Kane Williamson at mid-off on Adam Milne’s first ball of the next over.

One of the game changing events was when Ish Sodhi (1-32) dismissed Jos Buttler with an lbw on the reverse sweep, signifying a serious shift in momentum as the England wicketkeeper has been in fantastic form throughout the tournament. The introduction of Moeen Ali (51 runs off 37) and his partnership with David Malan (41 runs off 30) ensured the runs kept ticking, albeit slowly as the pair got more accustomed to the batting conditions. Conway hit the first six of England’s innings but was dismissed in the very next ball when he was caught by Devon Conway off Tim Southee’s delivery.

Liam Livingstone (17 runs off 10) was introduced to the crease to partner with Moeen Ali who took the reins and hit a couple of maximums on Sodhi and Milne’s deliveries. Livingstone also joined the party, scoring a six but was dismissed four balls before the end of the innings as Moeen Ali ensured England scored 99 runs in the last 10 overs to reach a total of 166/4 in 20 overs.

New Zealand got off to a poor start as Martin Guptill (4 runs off 3) was caught by Moeen Ali off Chris Woakes’ delivery in the very first over. The 32 year old seamer then took the wicket of Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson (5 runs off 11) who was caught by Adil Rashid at short fine leg. Just when it looked like a futile run chase, Daryl Mitchell (72 runs off 47) and Devon Conway (46 runs off 38) brought some much needed momentum to rebuild New Zealand’s innings despite a slow run rate.

Mark Wood’s third over proved to be costly for England as New Zealand scored 15 runs and the trend continued in Adil Rashid’s over but the run rate continued to be over 10 runs per over. Conway was eventually stumped by Jos Buttler off Livingstone’s (2-22) delivery and Glenn Philips was caught at long-off by Sam Billings. The introduction of James Neesham changed the tide of the match as England’s Chris Jordan (0-31) bowled two wides and was hit with two maximums as 23 runs were scored in the 17th over.

Neesham and Mitchell ensured the chase not only became realistic but fairly manageable as only 20 runs were required from 13 balls when Adil Rashid took Neesham’s wicket in the last ball of the over but Mitchell hit two maximums in Woakes’ over and a winning boundary to seal the game in New Zealand’s favour who will now compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup finals.

Also read: I couldn't remember what was going on, says Mitchell after his heroics


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