Ten days after the Super 12s, England showed up at the T20 World Cup and played brilliantly against New Zealand at the Gabba in a game that needed to be won. Barring a dramatic change in the net run rate, they should be able to advance with a win over Sri Lanka in their last group match on Saturday.
In order to build up England’s total of 179, Jos Buttler elected to bat first on a used surface. He then played his first noteworthy innings of the competition, scoring a brilliantly paced 73 off 47 balls following two reprieves. On the night he earned his 100th cap, he accomplished the feat and rose to the top of England’s men’s T20I scoring charts.
With a victory, New Zealand, who would have advanced to the knockout rounds, were well-positioned. They were 119 for 2 after 14.4 overs as Glenn Phillips, continuing his performance from the Sri Lanka match, controlled a 91-run partnership with a sluggish Kane Williamson.
However, unlike in last year’s semifinal in Abu Dhabi, a match that loomed large over Tuesday night’s game in Brisbane, England managed to strike frequently towards the end: Ben Stokes removed Williamson, Mark Wood pressed James Neesham, and Sam Curran closed out the win with a superb spell at the end.
New Zealand might easily qualify for Semi-finals
New Zealand’s net run rate is sufficient for them to almost certainly advance to the semifinals if they defeat Ireland in their final group match, whereas Australia’s title defence is tenuous at home: they must either defeat Afghanistan and hope that England loses to Sri Lanka in Sydney, or they must thrash Afghanistan to ensure they surpass England on NRR.
England did great at batting
Moeen Ali was moved up to No. 3 in England’s batting order and given permission to attack spin, while Dawid Malan was dropped as low as No. 8. Before Buttler reached a 35-ball fifty, Moeen holed out to long-on; while Liam Livingstone tried back-to-back scoops, a magnificent Ferguson yorker terminated his impressive cameo.
After a somewhat quiet beginning in which he fended off new-ball surges from Trent Boult and Tim Southee, Alex Hales took control in the second half of the powerplay and sped to 37 off 25 as England amassed 48 from the opening six overs. He scored two boundaries through the off side after hitting the opening ball of the fifth over straight back over Southee’s head for six.
Williamson believed he had made a fantastic catch to remove Buttler for eight in the penultimate powerplay over by diving low to his left to snag a mistake off Mitchell Santner. However, replays showed the ball had escaped his grasp and landed on the ground before he managed to secure it at the second try.
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