Hot England, lucky Pakistan make semi-finals
Gros Islet: Assured of a berth in the last four stage, England edged out New Zealand by three wickets in a Super Eight match to clear Pakistan’s semifinal passage as well in the Twenty20 World Cup here on Monday.
After Pakistan beat South Africa at the same venue a few hours before to rekindle their semifinal hopes, New Zealand desperately needed a win to qualify as the second team from Group E but today’s defeat and an inferior net run-rate saw them being pipped to the post by Shahid Afridi and his men.
Paul Collingwood and his men showed they were in no mood to entertain the Kiwi hopes as they first restricted New Zealand to 149 for six and then cruised to 153 for seven in 19.1 overs.
England’s successful chase was built on cameos from Eoin Morgan (40 off 34 balls) and Michael Lumb (32).
Earlier, New Zealand rode on useful knocks from Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Scott Styris to post a modest 149 for six.
In the face of England’s disciplined attack, McCullum (33 off 32 balls) was not at his attacking best and it was the 62-run fourth wicket partnership between Ross Taylor (44) and Scott Styris (31) which turned out to be the cornerstone of the Kiwi innings.
New Zealand’s was a rather sluggish start despite two stroke-makers -- McCullum and Jesse Ryder (9) – opening the innings after skipper Daniel Vettori had won the toss and opted to bat first in the do-or-die match.
The opening stand had yielded 30 runs when Tim Bresnan castled Ryder in the fifth over.
McCullum tried to assert himself but timing was not always perfect and he struggled to find gaps, partly because of his penchant to hit the ball too hard.
The desperation to break loose grew as the English bowlers maintained a stifling line and length and Graeme Swann dealt a double blow in successive overs to peg back the Kiwis.
The off-spinner first induced a fatal slog-sweep from Raymond in his second over and returned to have McCullum caught in the deep.
Styris joined Taylor in the middle and the duo stepped on gas, helping themselves to some welcome boundaries.
Taylor hit Swann out of the ground, while Styris cleared the ropes off a Ryan Sidebottom delivery before Stuart Broad cut short his 19-ball stay.
Taylor hit Sidebottom for a six in the penultimate over before holing out in the next ball and exit after a 33-ball cameo and New Zealand eventually halted just before the 150-mark.