Following their losses to Sri Lanka and Australia, England found themselves in a bit of a tangle. However, the Eoin Morgan-led unit has now become the third team after the Aussies and India to qualify for the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup. The hosts thumped New Zealand comprehensively by 119 runs at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. The Kiwis have still officially not qualified for the semis.
The decision to bat first paid dividends for the Brits as they managed to notch 305 in their 50 overs. Jonny Bairstow (106) and Jason Roy (60) took the team off to a flying start with a partnership of 123 that came off 18.4 overs. Roy got out to a rather soft dismissal to James Neesham, caught at short cover. Joe Root (24) gloved one down the leg side. The move to promote Jos Buttler didn’t work out either.
Eoin Morgan smacked five fours in his knock of 42, but couldn’t press the accelerator, falling prey to Henry. Even the in-form Ben Stokes had a painstaking stay with a 27-ball 11. After getting hammered initially, the Black Caps bowlers got the English batting by the scruff of its neck. In the end, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid flayed their bats to get a 29-run stand and took the Three Lions over the 300-run mark.
Morgan an Co demolish the Kiwis
New Zealand had a nightmarish start as Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer removed both the openers- Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill. Yet another time, the responsibility was on Kane Williamson (27) and Ross Taylor (28) to bail the Kiwis out of jail. A run-out at the non-striker’s end accounted for Williamson’s wicket. To add to the Black Caps agony, even Taylor ran himself out in the very next over.
Neesham (19) and Tom Latham (57) tried their hearts out, but the task was too uphill for them. Liam Plunkett got rid of Neesham to break the 54-run stand after which Stokes accounted for Colin de Grandhomme’s wicket. Latham would be happy that he got a well-compiled fifty after a string of low scores in the tournament. Rashid nipped out Boult to end the game with five overs remaining.
Jonny Bairstow, the Player of the Match, stated
Really pleased with my form. To play the way we have in the last two games and hopefully in the semis.. is pleasing. You got to just react to whatever is thrown in front of you. The toss can go either way. We applied ourselves pretty well. Obviously batting together (with Roy and the rest of the line-up) for a period of time helps, you understand each other well. We knew it was a must-win game and they are a class side.
We are pleased to be through to the semi-final after what has been a tough few weeks. It’s going to be important for us to go away and refresh. There is bound to be a bit of soreness, especially after two gruelling games. So ya, refresh and regroup 2-3 days before the semis. Hopefully we will put in good enough performances in the remaining two games and hopefully win them.
Eoin Morgan, the England captain, stated
I thought we were outstanding today. It started with the two guys at the top laying the foundation. Jonny going on to get a hundred, was match-winning today. After the 25th over it started to slow up and every batsman who came in after that found that to be true. Getting to 300 odd was a competitive total. I think if the wicket dictates that 280 or 300 is par, we can do both. I didn’t think it will get much worse today, but it did.
It has been the theme of the tournament, that the wicket will get slower over the course of the game. If that continues, we will continue to bat first. The way we have batted i the last two games, I certainly think that has been our identity over the last two years – that the batsmen up top play with absolute freedom. Our bowlers have continued to take wickets throughout the fifty overs, and I hope this positive approach continues throughout the rest of the tournament.
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, stated
It’s not ideal to lose 3 consecutively. It’s simple road ahead but not easy. We have to be a lot more competitive than we have been in the last few games. It’s important to learn from our mistakes moving forward. They got the best of the conditions, but they were the better team. The conditions didn’t decide the result, but it did change after 20 overs of their batting, and the cutters became effective on a slower wicket. Their bowlers put us under pressure from the start so full credit to England.
We thought we were in the game, and it was nice to be able to pull it back. We were under a lot of pressure in that first half. We needed to build partnerships and we weren’t able to take the game deep. We haven’t had the flow in the batting. There are a number of variables. Today with a couple of run-outs, and one down the leg-side, it’s not ideal to start a chase that way.
It’s one of those things. So much to learn from, but the most important thing is we need add value to our side from an individual perspective. There have been learning curves. We have had to adapt to many different surfaces. It’s nice to play some good cricket, been challenged on a number of occasions. If we are allowed the opportunity, anything can happen in the semi-finals and we haven’t played our best cricket yet.