England beat New Zealand to reach semi-finals

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England are into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy after beating New Zealand by 87 runs with an accomplished all-round display.
On a cold, blustery and sometimes wet day in Cardiff, England had set a total of 310, Joe Root top-scoring with 64 from 65 balls and Jos Buttler making a rapid unbeaten 61.
With their reply at 158-2 after 30 overs and captain Kane Williamson on 87, New Zealand appeared to be timing the chase with precision.
But Mark Wood’s clever cross-seam delivery saw off Williamson, and when the experienced Ross Taylor fell 10 runs later, England took control.
It means they can afford to lose their final group match, against Australia on Saturday, and still qualify for the last four.
New Zealand must now beat Bangladesh on Friday and hope Australia do not win, their own rain-abandoned fixture against Steve Smith’s men continuing to haunt them.
When these two sides met at the last 50-over World Cup there
was a chasm between them, England seemingly playing cricket from a different, slower era, outplayed by a team alive with innovation.
On Tuesday they produced a true team display: each of their five bowlers picking up at least one wicket, four of their top six batsmen getting in the runs.
Liam Plunkett finished with four wickets, taking three of the last four to fall, but it was arguably Adil Rashid who was the pick, the leg-spinner’s 2-47 off his 10 overs a fine display in a ground with short straight boundaries and in weather conditions far from ideal for slow bowling.
Jake Ball had clean-bowled the dangerous Luke Ronchi in the first over of New Zealand’s reply, and with Wood’s fine dismissal of Williamson and Ben Stokes getting through eight overs unhindered by his recent knee problems, it was a rewarding afternoon for the home attack.
Both Williamson and Taylor appeared unhappy with the behaviour of the pitch, Taylor being hit on the helmet grille by a ball that leapt off a length, but it was trepidation about what the ball might do as much as what it actually did that stymied their efforts.
Three of England’s
top six had made half-centuries and another, Stokes, came within two runs. (BBC Sport)

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