2019 Cricket World Cup: England ease past New Zealand to ensure semi-final spot
Bairstow hit a second century in just four days (photo: Getty Images)

2019 Cricket World Cup: England ease past New Zealand to ensure semi-final spot

The hosts will play either Australia or India next Thursday for a place in the final.

Chris Lincoln

England put any nerves and tension to one side as they battered New Zealand by 119 runs, galvanised by another century from opener Jonny Bairstow.

After a blistering opening, the hosts looked set for a score well above 350 but regular wickets squeezed their progress as England limped past 300.

Yet the response from New Zealand, who England have now leapfrogged into third, was tired and lacklustre with numerous wickets thrown away against a rampant seam attack.

With the contest effectively over by the midway stage in the second innings, New Zealand's lower order sought about batting for as long as possible to ensure there is only the most minute chance of Pakistan overturning their net run rate to finish in a top four position.

Flamboyant opening before England checked

Almost reflective of their opening salvo against India just four days ago, England's top two smashed their way through the opening 20 overs in a way that has barely been matched by their World Cup rivals. By the time Jason Roy departed for 60, England already had 123 on the board from just 112 balls.

Joe Root looked to keep wickets in tact in order to equate a late attacking onslaught later in the innings. Yet his failed review after a glove behind eventually symbolised a sticky final 20 overs for the hosts.

With 350 still well in sight, Jos Buttler was promoted to number four whilst Bairstow passed 100 in successive games. However, as has been common across the board in this tournament, he quickly departed after passing the milestone.

Despite a stand of 42 from captain Eoin Morgan, who had earlier won another important toss, England could only reach 305-8, scoring just 107 runs in 120 balls, losing  seven wickets in the process. Jimmy Neesham, Trent Boult and Matt Henry picked up two wickets apiece at less than six runs per over.

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New Zealand crumble

Whispered quietly around the Riverside, the common consensus was that England had just enough on the board, particularly considering New Zealand had failed to make 300 in the competition.

Within the first over of their response, the writing looked to be on the wall for New Zealand. Henry Nicholls was given out first ball but would have kept his wicket had he reviewed against a Chris Woakes LBW.

Martin Guptill was captured just five overs later before Kane Williamson attempted a rebuild with Ross Taylor. Whilst the latter was run out after a farcical mix up, the former could have not been more unfortunate when an outstretched Mark Wood finger deflected a Taylor drive onto the non-striking end stumps with Williamson out of his ground.

Tom Latham offered some resistance, eventually making 50, but he dropped anchor when poor wickets kept falling around him, New Zealand effectively giving up the chase on 128-6 with 22 overs still remaining after Ben Stokes took the scalp of Colin de Grandhomme with his first delivery.

Albeit anti-climatic, the defensive ploy was a shrewd move from New Zealand who looked to bat as deep as possible to protect their advantageous run rate over Pakistan, eventually bowled out for 186 with five overs remaining.