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England, without the services of Kevin Pietersen restricted New Zealand to 149 in their allotted 20 overs. The Kiwis who needed a win to make it to the semis never looked to be in control of the game. A solid start from the openers and a some useful cameos from Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright and Tim Bresnan saw England through comfortably with 5 balls to spare.
A number of New Zealand batsmen got decent starts after Vettori won the toss and decided to bat. However, none of them went on to play the big innings that could have tilted the game in their favour. Brendan McCullum and Jesse Ryder got the team off to a steady start, scoring just over 7 runs an over. But Tim Bresnan, who was into an impressive opening spell, provided the first setback for the Kiwis when he dislodged Ryder for 9. Aaron Redmond, playing his first game of the tourney in place of Martin Guptill, found it difficult to get going. He did manage to slog sweep Graeme Swann for a maximum but an attempted replay of the shot didn't come off the middle of the blade and Stuart Broad patrolling the boundary judged the skier to perfection.
McCullum had played himself in and looked set for a big one until he lofted Swann straight into the hands of Michael Lumb stationed at deep-midwicket, to perish for 33 off 32 balls. Scott Styris walked out to join Ross Taylor with the team in a spot of bother at 65 for 3 in 10.3 overs. The duo steadied the ship for the Kiwis. Taylor had not been at his best in the tournament and this seemed to be the perfect time for him to make amends.
A flick over mid-wicket for six got him going. Styris too was starting to middle the ball at the other end. He had contributed 31 off 19 in a partnership worth 62 when he failed to pick up a slower delivery from Broad and ended up scooping it over the bowler's head only for Luke Wright to take a beauty running in from long-on. Gareth Hopkins (1) wasn't able to do much damage as he dragged one on from Broad three balls later.
The boundaries had dried up after the 15th over and things got worse for New Zealand when Taylor (44) bludgeoned one from Sidebottom straight into the hands of long-off. Bresnan bowled an excellent last over that went for just 7 runs to restrict the Kiwi total to 149.
Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb yet again got England off to a flier. They were going at 11 runs an over when Kyle Mills removed Kieswetter (15). Lumb, however, kept on playing his shots. A couple of superb sweeps off Vettori took England to a commanding 57 for 1 at the end of the powerplays.
New Zealand needed wickets and that too fast. And they got just that. Styris removed Ravi Bopara (9) and Paul Collingwood (3) while Lumb failed to connect an attempted sweep off Vettori and was caught plumb in front of the wicket for 32 from just 21 balls. The opening was there for New Zealand to tighten the noose, but Morgan and Wright went on the counter attack that knocked the Kiwis off their feet.
Shane Bond came back for his second spell to remove Wright (24) but with 32 needed off 28 deliveries it was probably too little too late. A couple of boundaries from Morgan (40) in the 17th over pretty much sealed New Zealand's fate. And though Bond removed him in the next over, England were already on the doorstep of victory. Michael Yardy fell for a duck but Tim Bresnan showed the advantage of batting deep, knocking off the remaining runs without any fuss to record a 3-wicket win.Â Bresnan collected the man-of-the-match for his all-round performance.
Collingwood will be mighty pleased with his players who never allowed the intensity of their game to come down despite the fact that England had already topped the group and cemented a place in the semis. The team has the momentum going into the semis and will not be an easy opposition to go past.
New Zealand one would imagine did not have enough runs on the board to challenge the Englishmen. Their batters have been disappointing throughout the tournament with Ross Taylro's 44 in this game their highest individual score in the World T20, a reflection of how they have failed to deliver. Their big players failed at crucial points and that has cost them a semi-final spot, allowing perennial late risers, Pakistan, an entry through the back door into the final four.
New Zealand 149/6 (20 overs, 7.45 rpo)
R Taylor 44 (33) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â G Swann 2-31
B McCullum 33 (32) Â Â Â Â Â S Broad 2-33
England 153/7 (19.1 overs, 7.98 rpo)
E Morgan 40 (34) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â S Styris 2-16
M Lumb 32 (21) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â S Bond 2-29
File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20
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