GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – England knocked New Zealand out of the World Twenty20 Championship yesterday with a three-wicket triumph, taking their third victory of the Super Eights and installing themselves as one of the favourites to win the title.
They gallantly chased down New Zealand’s 149 for six at Warner Park, impressively reaching their target with five balls to spare.
While their win eliminated the Black Caps, it catapulted Pakistan into the semi-finals of the tournament after the Asian side had earlier beaten South Africa to give themselves a lifeline.
Eoin Morgan was again crucial to the England’s batting efforts with another polished knock of 40 off 41 balls that gave the innings some impetus in the middle stages.
Morgan struck four fours and one six after England were reeling at 66 for four at one stage, losing Ravi Bopara (9), Michael Lumb (32), and captain Paul Collingwood (3), in quick succession.
Luke Wright hit a critical 24 off 17 balls late in the innings before Tim Bresnan pulled Kyle Mills one bounce to the deep mid wicket boundary to bring up victory, finishing unbeaten on 23.
Morgan and Wright put together a hasty 52 off 38 balls for the fifth wicket, which pulled England around and put them back on course for victory.
Scott Styris had the most impressive figures of the New Zealand bowlers with two for 16 and was backed by Shane Bond’s two for 29 from four overs.
New Zealand, desperately needing to secure victory to advance to the semis, decided to take first occupation of the Beausejour strip after captain Daniel Vettori called right at the toss.
Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder put on 30 for the first wicket due mainly to the aggression of McCullum. Ryder was first to go bowled playing across to a straight delivery from Bresnan for nine with the score on 30 for one in the fifth over. Aaron Redmond joined McCullum but contributed only 16 before Stuart Broad pulled off a stunning catch close to the fine leg boundary rope as the number three swept at off-spinner Graeme Swann.
McCullum was the third New Zealand wicket to fall, caught on the midwicket boundary by Michael Lumb off Swann for 33 that came off 32 balls with four boundaries, as the Black Caps slipped to 65 for three.
Ross Taylor and Scott Styris then staged a crucial fourth wicket partnership, adding 62 from 41 balls to propel the innings.
Styris stroked 31 off 19 balls with three fours and one six, while Taylor top scored with 44 from 33 balls that included two sixes.
The right-handed Styris was eventually caught by Wright running in from long-on off the bowling of Broad while Taylor was caught on the long-off boundary by Bresnan looking for a six off left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom.
Swann finished with two for 31 while Broad claimed two for 33.