Gutsy New Zealand reach Champions Trophy semi-finals
by AFP

Ground:New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Scorecard:England v New Zealand
Player:PD Collingwood, GD Elliott, SE Bond, BB McCullum, MJ Guptill, SCJ Broad
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2009/10

DateLine: 30th September 2009


Brave New Zealand shrugged off an injury crisis to defeat England by four wickets at the Wanderers on Tuesday and join them in the Champions Trophy semi-finals.


The victory completed a stirring Group B comeback by the Black Caps, who also overcame Sri Lanka after tamely surrendering to hosts South Africa in their opening match.


New Zealand came first ahead of England on net run rate after finishing with four points each with Sri Lanka and hosts South Africa eliminated having gained two points apiece.


Group A will be settled on Wednesday with leaders Pakistan and second-placed Australia favoured to advance to the knockout phase at the expense of India and the West Indies.


Bowlers Grant Elliott and Shane Bond inflicted most damage after the Kiwis won the toss and an England team that amassed 323 against South Africa just 48 hours earlier were bundled out for 146 in 43.1 overs.


New Zealand openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill made a whirlwind start in pursuit of the total, harvesting 66 from 60 balls, and the 147-run target was reached for the loss of six wickets after 27.1 overs.


"It was a great all-round performance from our second must-win match in a row. Brendon (McCullum) and Martin (Guptill) started the innings superbly and that helped us survive a few hiccups," said winning captain Daniel Vettori.


Opposite number Andrew Strauss replied: "It was not a great wicket for one-day cricket but we beat Sri Lanka here so that is the way it goes. We needed some luck but full credit to New Zealand for winning."


Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara and tail-enders Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom were the only England batsmen to reach double figures on an overcast afternoon.


If New Zealand were cursing their luck at losing bowlers Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey and batsman Jesse Ryder through injury since the two-week tournament began, they were not showing it.


Inspirational skipper Strauss was first to depart, getting on an outside edge off Kyle Mills to wicketkeeper McCullum having faced just two balls and failed to score.


Joe Denly was next to experience the venom of the Black Caps attack, scoring just five before reacting too slow and Shane Bond sent the off stump flying to his relief after two previous games yielded a solitary wicket.


Owais Shah, 98-run hero of the triumph over South Africa, survived a mere 10 balls and hit three runs before he tried to flick Bond over square leg and sent a thick edge to McCullum.


At 27-3 stunned England got a reprieve when New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori reversed a run-out decision against Collingwood, who went on to top score with 40 before an excellent Ross Taylor catch terminated his innings.


Collingwood was one of four England batsman who fell to South Africa-born right-arm medium pacer Grant Elliott, whose 4-31 off eight overs was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers and earned the man of the match award.


England wickets fell regularly and cheaply with the expection of 30-run Ravi Bopara until tail-ender Ryan Sidebottom struck three boundaries in a defiant 20 before Taylor caught him off Vettori to conclude the innings.


New Zealand reached 84 in 12.3 overs before England made a breakthrough as McCullum hopelessly mistimed a Stuart Broad delivery and Bopara took the catch at cover.


Another six overs passed before England could celebrate again as the 53-run stand of Guptill finished when he got a thick edge to a clever James Anderson delivery and Graeme Swann caught him at first slip.


Swann struck again three balls later, diving at second slip to remove Taylor, who bungled his reaction to a Broad delivery and got a thick edge, but despite losing a few more cheap wickets, the Kiwis won with relative ease.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)


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