Cook Half-Century Sets New Zealand 170 To Win
England 169 (Cook 64) v New Zealand
ICC Champions Trophy Group B, Cardiff
Report by John Pennington
Alastair Cook hit 64 in 47 balls before England were bowled out for 169 in a delayed, rain-reduced ICC Champions Trophy Group B match at Cardiff.
With just 24 overs to set New Zealand a target, England made a slow start before Cook's effort put them in the driving seat only to lose seven wickets in the last six overs to leave the match in the balance.
After a lengthy delay, most of the batsmen struggled for timing initially, leading to Ian Bell (10) and Jonathan Trott (8) falling as they tried to up the ante, the former brilliantly caught at short cover by Brendon McCullum off Mitchell McClenaghan.
Once Cook and Joe Root (38) had taken some time to get themselves in, they started to accelerate during a half-century partnership for the third wicket.
The first six of the innings came in the 10th over when Root rocked back and deposited Daniel Vettori over midwicket, by which time Cook had been given one of three lives by Nathan McCullum.
He took full advantage, hitting James Franklin and Kane Williamson for straight sixes as well as four fours before offering McCullum a fourth chance, which was taken off his own bowling.
Root survived a reviewed leg before decision which revealed an inside edge off Vettori and a typically busy innings was ended when he top edged McClenaghan to be caught by wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi shortly after England had reached three figures.
The platform had therefore been set for the power hitters to come in and take advantage but they were unable to do so as New Zealand fought back.
Eoin Morgan (15) lifted McCullum over his head for six but fell leg before to Vettori, Jos Buttler (14) flickered briefly with a couple of boundaries and Ravi Bopara (9) became another victim of a top edge.
Franklin had earlier dropped Bell but partially redeemed himself by recovering from a fumble to run out Tim Bresnan for four and the end of the innings was wrapped up when Mills removed Stuart Broad and James Tredwell for ducks in consecutive deliveries.
McClenaghan finished with three for 36 to move back to the top of the tournament's wicket-takers list, Mills ended with four for 30 but Vettori was perhaps the most effective, with one for 27 from his five overs, never letting England get on top of him.
Nathan McCullum was able to put his three misses behind him to take four catches as the ball followed him round the park.
The winner of this game qualifies for the semi-finals, and England defeat would see them eliminated while New Zealand can still qualify should they lose depending on the outcome of the Australia-Sri Lanka match which concludes the group stages.
© Cricket World 2013
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Champions Trophy History
1998: South Africa
2000: New Zealand
2002: India/Sri Lanka
2004: West Indies