England vs New Zealand, Cricket World Cup: the third team from England qualify for the semifinals after a great victory over New Zealand
CHESTER-LE-STREET: England entered the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time since the 1992 edition, beating a wandering New Zealand for 119 races to fuel their dream of winning a first title.
Jonny Bairstow, who broke 106 balls of 99 balls to become the first Englishman to score consecutive hundreds in a World Cup, was primarily responsible for taking the hosts to 305 for eight in a pitch that slowed down as he progressed the game.
New Zealand did well to limit England to a little over 300, considering the start provided by Bairstow and Jason Roy (60 of 61) who shared an entertaining 123-race stand after Eoin Morgan He chose to hit.
However, the moments of brilliance of England and some ordinary crickets of the Black Caps led to their fall when they retired for 186 in 45 shots.
New Zealand, which lost its last three league games to finish with 11 points from nine games, continues in the quest to secure the fourth and final place in the semi-final.
They have a much better execution rate than Pakistan, which has nine points and must beat Bangladesh by a large margin in their last league game to have any hope of winning New Zealand for the remaining spot in the semifinals.
England, on the other hand, has managed to act together after the defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia. The favorites before the tournament again look like the team to beat the best of India and New Zealand. If things are in the points table as they are, India, second position, will face England's third position in the semifinals.
A professional performance on Wednesday raised hopes that England will finally win its first World Cup after heartbreaking losses in three finals (1979, 1987 and 1992).
New Zealand, which lost to England for the first time in a World Cup since the 1983 edition, was virtually out of the game after losing its top four in 69 races. Both its key players, the captain. Kane Williamson (27) and Ross Taylor (28), were expelled to leave their team in serious trouble.
Williamson, who was retreating too far, had a bit of bad luck since Mark Wood found a clever touch in his follow-up. In the next step, Taylor went for a second risky race that was avoidable at that juncture of the game. The fatal starts came after New Zealand lost its starters, Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls, at the start of the chase to drop them at 37 for two in 10 passes.
Previously, Bairstow, who had defeated 111 against India in the previous England contest, raced to his ninth ODI hundred, to place a perfect platform in a virtual quarterfinal.
Starters Jason Roy (60 of 61) and Bairstow were in punishment mood, sharing a one-century position for the second consecutive game. Bairstow looked with a sinister touch again, striking at 15 feet and six in his striking blow.
With England crossing to 194 for one in 31st place, it seemed that the home team would eliminate New Zealand from the game.
But New Zealand struggled to return to the game on the back of some tight bowling.
Trent Boult (2/56) was again impressive and eliminated Joe Root (24) just at the right moment to trigger a mini-collapse that also led to the fall of the centurion Bairstow and the dangerous Jos Buttler (11), leaving England in 214 for four
Spinner Mitchell Santer, who opened the bowling alley, then removed the Ben Stokes form (11) to make it 248 for five.
The onus, then, was on captain Eoin Morgan to come up with the late fireworks, but he too perished after scoring 42 off 40 balls.
New Zealand received a severe blow before the start of the game with pacemaker Lockie Ferguson that was ruled out due to a thigh injury. Tim Southee, playing his first game of the tournament, leaked 70 runs in nine starts.