Hosts England pulverize New Zealand to qualify for the semis of Champions Trophy

Hosts England became the first team to reach the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy after brushing aside New Zealand by 87 runs in the sixth game played at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Eoin Morgan’s men were spot-on with the bat and ball as they never allowed New Zealand to get into a position of winning the game.

It was more of collective effort with the bat as Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jos Buttler played splendidly well to see England post 310 runs as Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to field first in overcast conditions. In the chase, New Zealand look steady when Kane Williamson was at the crease as captain once gain delivered with the bat as he scored 87 runs and added 95 runs with Ross Taylor to keep the side well in the game. The opening pair of Martin Guptill and Like Ronchi could not produce big runs as New Zealand slipped to 63 for 2 in 13.3 overs. Jake Ball bowled a peach of a delivery to Ronchi to see his stumps get clattered to set the tone for England with the ball in hand.

Williamson played well and negotiated the early period with great resolve to string together partnerships with Guptill and then Taylor. But once Williamson departed, it all fell apart as Taylor also fell due to pressure created by England bowlers. Neil Broom played a poor innings in context of the game as he could not get going which meant that the asking kept going up. Jimmy Neesham did strike some meaty blows before being dismissed by Plunkett to end the New Zealand’s hopes of winning the game. The lower-order offered no resistance as Kiwis were dismissed for 223 runs in 44.3 overs. Liam Plunkett once again was standout performer for England with the bat as he took four wickets in this game.

Earlier in the game, Jason Roy once again departed early but Alex Hales and Joe Root added 71 runs to stabilize the England innings. Hales notched up another useful half century but was dismissed by Milne after he dragged a short-ball onto the stumps. He scored 56 runs off 62 runs and struck two sixes in his innings. Joe Root batted well to add another 54 runs with Ben Stokes to place England in a good position to score 300 runs on the board. Root departed after scoring 64 runs off 65 balls as England were placed at 188 for 4 after 33.3 overs. Stokes has been fluent in this home season for England with the bat and once again produced another brisk cameo of 48 runs off 53 balls to make the hosts kept the scoreboard ticking along nicely.

New Zealand pegged things back as they took out Stokes and Ali in quick succession but Jos Buttler bailed the side out of precarious situation as he scored unbeaten 61 runs to take England score well over 300 runs in full quota of overs. Jake Ball was named player of the match for his impressive probing spell upfront for England.

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