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England book semi-final berth with 87-run win over New Zealand

Jake Ball (centre) celebrating the wicket of Luke Ronchi
Jake Ball (centre) celebrating the wicket of Luke Ronchi

England 310 (Root 64) beat
New Zealand 223 (Williamson 87) by 87 runs
6th game, Group A, ICC Champions Trophy, Cardiff

A collective bowling effort led by Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett helped England restrict New Zealand to 223 runs in a chase of 311 to win the sixth game of the ICC Champions Trophy in Cardiff by 87 runs and thereby becoming the first team to reach to the semi-finals.

Another Roy failure, Root-Hales consolidate once again

The spotlight has been on Jason Roy (13) for a while as he is struggling to be among the runs. He received full backing of his skipper Eoin Morgan but once again failed to lived up to it. In a scratchy 23-ball knock, he managed 13 runs, hitting two boundaries in it before he was castled in the eighth over by Adam Milne (3-79). Nevertheless, Alex Hales (56) ensured England ended the first powerplay strong at 50 for one. With Joe Root (64) nicely rotating the strike and playing the perfect supporting role to Hales, the duo brought their 50-run stand at almost run-a-ball.

The first sign of aggression from Root came in the 18th over from Mitchell Santner (1-54) as he plundered a six and a four while Hales completed a 60-ball fifty at the other end as England reached 104 for one in the 20 over mark.

Anderson jolt England back

The progress made by the duo was undone by some disciplined bowling effort from the Black Caps bowlers. On reaching his fifty, Hales was castled by Milne, while Corey Anderson (3-55) had Eoin Morgan (13) caught behind few overs later. Ben Stokes (48) continued to play his shots with two sixes and three boundaries but Anderson once again returned back to castle Root as England were reduced to 189 for four.

Stokes' 53-ball innings was ended by Trent Boult (1-56) while Anderson picked his third wicket accounting for Moeen Ali (12) and at the end of 41 overs, the hosts were placed at 236 for six.

Buttler to the rescue

As the innings was losing momentum, Jos Buttler (61 not out) played a decisive 48-ball knock to turned the innings around with support from Adil Rashid (12) and Plunkett (15). Buttler's knock had two each of boundaries and sixes as England posted 310 runs before they were dismissed in 49.3 overs.

Ball's spell dent New Zealand momentum

After castling Luke Ronchi (0) in the fourth ball of the innings, Jake Ball (2-31) bowled a brilliant opening spell where he conceded just one run off his first three overs that included two maidens. However, Martin Guptill (27) and Kane Williamson (87) hit five boundaries in a span of three overs to release the pressure as New Zealand reached 40 for one in 10 overs.

The 62-run stand for the second wicket finally ended when Stokes (1-46) had Guptill caught in the slips and it was once again the partnership between Williamson and Ross Taylor (39) that kept New Zealand in the hunt. Williamson's 50 came off 65 deliveries. However, New Zealand had a daunting task of needing 155 runs in the final 20 overs.

New Zealand's innings derailed after Williamson's dismissal

Mark Wood (1-32) provided the crucial wicket for England when he had Williamson caught behind in the 31st over and that made the Blackcaps lose way completely as the remaining batsmen looked clueless with the required run rate climbing. Plunkett (4-55) bowled handy spell in the end along with Adil Rashid (2-47) to dismiss New Zealand for 223 runs.

The win has meant England have reached the semi-final of the tournament with Ball winning the man of the match award for setting up the win with the wickets of Ronchi and Taylor.

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