Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Gutsy New Zealand reach Champions Trophy semis

AFP , JOHANNESBURG

New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum plays a shot during their ICC Champions Trophy match against England in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AFP

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 finished top of the group, ahead of England on net run rate, after they finished with four points each. Sri Lanka and hosts South Africa were eliminated having gained two points apiece.

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.

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.

Inspirational skipper Strauss was first to depart, getting 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 Bond sent his off stump flying.

Owais Shah survived a mere 10 balls in scoring three 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 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 earned him the man of the match award.

England wickets fell regularly and cheaply with the expection of Bopara — who made 30 — until tail-ender 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 when Guptill got a thick edge to a James Anderson delivery and Swann caught him at first slip.

Swann struck again three balls later, diving at second slip to remove Taylor off Broad but despite losing a few more cheap wickets, the Kiwis won with relative ease.

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