England Hold Off New Zealand To Reach Semi-Finals
Alastair Cook hit 64 in 47 balls and James Anderson took three wickets as England beat New Zealand by 10 runs to book their place in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 semi-finals.
England were bowled out for 169 in a delayed, rain-reduced match and then had to survive a late rally by New Zealand, who closed on 159 for eight.
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.
New Zealand's innings went the other way as they got no platform from the top order aside from Kane Williamson, who hit an excellent 67, but it was not until he was joined by Corey Anderson (30) that they started to threaten England's target, but their efforts were eventually in vain, England's bowlers, led by Anderson, too good on the day.
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.
New Zealand then got off to a horrible start. Ronchi (2) looked completely out of sorts before an ugly hoik - one of many - saw him caught at third man by Trott off Anderson, who struck again to have Martin Guptill bowled for nine as New Zealand crawled to 17 for two in their five-over Power Play as compared to England's 33 for two.
Anderson, Broad and Bresnan were superb with the new balls, with a mix of swing, seam and discipline tucking the New Zealanders up and giving them nothing to hit. After Ross Taylor (3) was trapped in front by Bresnan, a frustrated Brendon McCullum (8) was next to go when he pulled Bopara to Root who made a good grab diving forward in the deep.
Bopara's medium pace proved ideal for the tacky conditions and he would return two for 26 when James Franklin was caught by Eoin Morgan via a leading edge.
The Black Caps were going nowhere at 66 for five after 13 overs and the only thing that was looking likely to stop England was the rain, which briefly threatened to interrupt again before eventually staying clear.
Williamson though, played a lone hand, finally finding a willing ally in Anderson, and the compact right-hander smeared Tredwell through cover, Bresnan through mid-wicket and Broad through the off side while Anderson hammered Tredwell for a huge six to launch the New Zealand fightback.
The batting Power Play, two overs' worth, heightened England's nerves a little as Williamson brought up his half-century and 19 runs came from one Bresnan over.
The tension was ratcheted up a notch more when New Zealand's Anderson went down with a calf injury just one ball short of the match being an official one under the Duckworth/Lewis method. He made a recovery of sorts but the turning point came in the next over when Broad had Williamson caught by England's Anderson in the deep.
Several slow-motion replays were required for the third umpire to finally decide that he hadn't overstepped but it was a marginal one. Some viewers were convinced it was a no ball, others were convinced the other way. Williamson and Anderson still faced a huge task, and Bresnan returned to dismiss Anderson in the next over, but the net effect meant that New Zealand needed 23 to win from the final over.
Anderson bowled a couple of wides and Nathan McCullum managed a four and a six before his dismissal from the final ball, caught by Buttler, ended a long and challenging day for both sides.
Anderson returned three for 32, Bresnan two for 41 and Broad one for 25.
While England can look forward to a semi-final against India or South Africa, for New Zealand to still qualify, they need Australia to beat Sri Lanka, but not by a huge margin.
© Cricket World 2013
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Champions Trophy History
1998: South Africa
2000: New Zealand
2002: India/Sri Lanka
2004: West Indies