Kiwis fly high at Wanderers

WANDERES: England fell to a four-wicket defeat on Tuesday as New Zealand reached the Champions Trophy semi-finals by winning Group B.

Already into the last four, England were put in on a pitch sharply varying in bounce and were 95-7 after 27 overs. Paul Collingwood hit three sixes in 40 but Grant Elliott took 4-31 as England were all out for 146 in Johannesburg.

After Brendon McCullum’s 48 in 39 balls the Kiwis lost five for 27 in eight overs as Stuart Broad claimed 4-39, but battled home with almost 23 overs left. It was a determined display from the unfancied Kiwis, and it meant that two of the favoured sides, Sri Lanka and hosts South Africa, both failed to survive the group stages.

There were all manner of permutations when New Zealand began their reply at the Wanderers, getting to 139 but still losing being good enough to see them qualify, while winning in 44.3 overs would seal the group on net run-rate. Blazing 75-0 after 11 overs rendered much of the maths irrelevant, with Broad finding his rhythm just a shade too late.

England captain Andrew Strauss had negotiated just one ball before the demons appeared, one from Kyle Mills flew off a length and the England captain edged through to the keeper. Joe Denly saw his off-stump uprooted by one that kept low and nipped back from Shane Bond.

Despite the poor surface Collingwood showed glimpses of his recent fluency with three maximums into the leg-side before Ross Taylor leapt to pouch a mistimed pull at mid-wicket off Elliott for 40. Bopara, having battled for 51 balls for his 30, got the most unplayable ball of the match, a genuine shooter off the express pace of Bond that trapped him lbw. As something of an after-thought England took the batting powerplay, and Sidebottom (20) to his credit hit three boundaries.

McCullum and Guptill effectively took the pitch out of the equation with some fearless hitting. McCullum’s bold strokeplay ended with a slice to cover, but Guptill brought up the 100 with an imperious six off Collingwood walking down the wicket and lofting over long-on. He was caught at slip for 53 by Swann, who then snared an even better low diving catch in the next over to remove Taylor. Well directed lifting deliveries gave Broad two more victims, and acting keeper Eoin Morgan claimed a third catch when Neil Broom nicked one that bounced and moved away from Sidebottom.