England stun New Zealand to guarantee a repeat winner

England will play in their second ICC WT20 final on Sunday
England will play in their second ICC WT20 final on Sunday
©Chetan Narula / Cricket World
 

England stunned New Zealand to enter the final of the ICC World T20 2016 and leave their opponents as bridesmaids - once again.

They will now wait in Kolkata for the winners of the second semi-final between India and West Indies in Mumbai tomorrow.

New Zealand Tripped

On a typical Kotla wicket with less than decent bounce and turn, New Zealand were in two minds whether to bat or bowl. Things were made easier for them as England won the toss and opted to bowl first, keeping the dew factor in mind as well.

Martin Guptill (15) and Kane Williamson (32) tried for the usual quick start, but they didn’t get too far, with the former caught behind off David Willey (1-17) in the third over. It brought Colin Munro (46 runs off 32 balls) to the crease, and for once he made full use of his license to hit out from ball one. He smacked seven fours and a six during his stay, and put on 74 runs for the second wicket with Williamson.

In doing so, they brought up the 50-mark in the sixth over and New Zealand were placed at 89 for one at the halfway mark in the innings. The pitch seemed flatter at this particular time in the innings than during the weekend, and the Black Caps needed to breach the 180-run mark atleast to feel safe here at the Kotla.

And they were in position to do that, with Munro and Williamson going strong, but England struck against the run of play in the 11th over, as Williamson skied a catch off Moeen Ali (1-10) and was caught by the bowler himself. Three overs later, when Munro cut Liam Plunkett (1-38) straight to Ali at third man, the momentum changed in favour of England.

From 107 for three at that point, it was a crawl for New Zealand, as the English bowlers never let them get away with the run rate. Ali, Chris Jordan (1-24) and Ben Stokes (3-26) put the squeeze on the New Zealand batting in the death overs, as they could only manage 64 runs in the last 10 overs.

While Ross Taylor (6) and Luke Ronchi (3) were dismissed cheaply, Stokes got rid of Corey Anderson (28) in the 18th over, as the last four overs yielded only 20 runs as New Zealand finished at a below par 153 for eight in 20 overs.

Jason Roy’s Blitzkrieg

Everything depended on the start of the second innings here at the Kotla. Would New Zealand pick up early wickets or would England get off to a quick start and dash their hopes?

Quick would be an understatement for what Jason Roy (78 runs off 44 balls) did to the New Zealand bowlers. Eleven fours and two sixes boomed off his bat as England galloped in the initial overs. The 50-mark came up in only the fifth over while the first six powerplay overs yielded 67 runs.

It was all the more surprising to see that New Zealand opted for pace in their initial overs, bowling Corey Anderson (0-16), Mitchell McClenaghan (0-24) and Adam Milne (0-27) in tandem, even as they bled runs.

So tamed were the Kiwi players with Roy’s 82-run partnership off 50 balls with Alex Hales (20) that even when spinner Mitchell Santner (1-28) came on to bowl, he was wayward with his lines and taken for runs. He did manage to send back Hales, caught at long on, and break the partnership in the ninth over, but New Zealand needed some quick wickets.

The Roy show continued meanwhile as he reached his half-century off only 26 balls, as the English century came up in the 11th over. They were firmly in the driving seat at this stage as Joe Root (27 not out) held up one end. Ish Sodhi (2-42) tried to turn things around by bowling Roy in the 13th over and then trapping Eoin Morgan (0) LBW first ball.

But all the Black Caps could do was slow the flow of runs, or so they thought, as Jos Buttler smacked 32 not out off 17 balls, with two fours and three sixes, to finish the game off with a massive 17 balls to spare.

What This Means

England are now through to their second World T20 final, after winning the tournament in 2010 in the Caribbean. It also means that there will be a repeat winner this time, with the other two semi-finalists having won this title before. India won the inaugural championship in South Africa in 2007, while West Indies were crowned champions in Sri Lanka in 2012.

New Zealand meanwhile continue to be the bridesmaids and not yet the bride at the wedding, falling short off the mark once again despite some brilliant performances, after losing in the finals of the 2015 ODI World Cup to Australia.

© Cricket World 2016