ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Impressive England Reach Semi-Finals After Beating New Zealand

If the true sign of a tournament-winning team is gaining results when not playing at your very best then England look like justifying their favourite’s tag and going all the way in the Champions Trophy. This ultimately comfortable victory against New Zealand, by 87 runs and with 6.3 overs remaining, secures the passage of Eoin Morgan’s team into the semi-finals.

They have also secured top place in Group A, and a last-four match back here in Cardiff next Wednesday, regardless of the result of their final first-round fixture against Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday. With the number of wins, rather than net run rate, the decider if teams finish level on points nobody can overtake England’s total of two. Yet that encounter against the Australians will not be without significance in an Ashes year, particularly as England can knock Steve Smith’s side out of the tournament with victory in Birmingham.

They will, though, probably have to raise their performance level up another notch if they are to achieve that goal. England’s total of 310 was certainly competitive. Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jos Buttler, who finished unbeaten on 61 from 48 balls, all played their part with the bat. Yet the fact that the overriding feeling at the conclusion of the innings was disappointment shows just how far this team have come since the 2015 World Cup.

New Zealand inflicted a humiliating eight-wicket loss on England at Wellington during that tournament. This time the boot was firmly on the other foot as the home bowlers dismissed the Black Caps for 223 inside 45 overs despite a fine innings of 87 from captain Kane Williamson. Liam Plunkett’s performance, taking four wickets for the second successive match in this tournament, stood out for the hosts.

Brief Score-
England 310 all out (49.3 overs)
New Zealand 223 all out (44.3 overs)
England won by 87 runs

Courtesy: Independent

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