Kolkata: Hosts England became the first team to enter the semis in this edition of the Champions Trophy after they brushed aside New Zealand by a comfortable 87-run margin at Cardiff on Tuesday.
Batting first, England lost opener Jason Roy (15) quite early for just 37 runs on the board while Alex Hales (56) at the other end fought his way to cross the 50-run mark for the second consecutive time in this tournament. Joe Root, fresh from a sparkling century in the tournament opener against Bangladesh played well for his 64 off 65 deliveries.
All-rounder Ben Stokes played a crucial 48 run knock from 53 balls as wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler hit two fours and as many sixes to compile 61 runs from 48 deliveries.
Some pinch hitting towards the end by Liam Plunkett (15), Moeen Ali (12) and Adil Rashid (12) ensured that England crossed the 300 run mark before their innings was wrapped up with 310 runs on the board.
New Zealand pacers were good with the ball as Corey Anderson and Adam Milne scalped three wickets each. Trent Boult (1/56) and Tim Southee (2/44) too were amongst the wickets.
Chasing 311, the Kiwis lost Luke Ronchi (0) in the very first over to Jake Ball. Martin Guptill (27) stitched a steady partnership with skipper Kane Williamson but the former too fell when there were only 63 runs on the board. The experienced Ross Taylor (39) then joined the skipper in the middle and the duo shared a 95-run stand, which had brought back New Zealand into the game.
Williamson (87), put up a fight with the bat and showed the world as to why he is such a high rated cricketer after he absorbed the pressure and made the target look well within reach. But after he fell having missed out on a second consecutive century by just 13 runs, the rest of the batting could hardly offer any resistance as New Zealand were bundled out for just 223 runs, 87 short of a victory.
The pace trio of Liam Plunkett (4/55) , Jake Ball (2/31) and Mark Wood (1/32) impressed all the audiences big time as the hosts reached the semis of the, ‘mini World Cup’ courtesy this win.
This thus leaves Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh battling it out for the other semi final spot from Group A.
England 310 all out in 49.3 overs ( Joe Root 64, Jos Buttler 61* ; Corey Anderson 3/55) beat New Zealand 223 all out in 44.3 overs ( Kane Williamson 87, Ross Taylor 39; Liam Plunkett 4/55) by 87 runs.