New Zealand beat England by 5 wickets to reach T20 World Cup final

New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell plays a shot during the semifinal against England. (Reuters)
New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell plays a shot during the semifinal against England. (Reuters)

New Zealand will be in their first ever T20 World Cup final



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 10 Nov 2021, 11:53 PM

A heroic innings from Daryl Mitchell (47-ball 72) and a brilliant cameo from James Neesham (11-ball 27) helped New Zealand earn a dramatic five-wicket victory over England in the ICC T20 World Cup semifinal in Abu Dhabi.

Chasing 167 runs, the Kiwis needed 57 from the final four overs, and just when it felt England had an upper hand, Mitchell and Neesham fired sixes and fours at will to reach the target with six balls to spare.

The thrilling win over England was a sweet revenge for New Zealand who had lost to Eoin Morgan’s team in a dramatic final of the 2019 ODI World Cup.

“It was a bit of a whirlwind there. I can’t really remember the last half of it. It’s nice to get the job done and move onto the final dance,” Mitchell, the player of the match, said at a lively Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Mitchell also raised a spirited 82-partnership with Devon Conway (38-ball 46) to set the platform for the final flourish.

“It was quite challenging at the start. It was two-paced. The way Devon Conway batted through the middle, and Neesham, really helped us. T20 is a game of momentum. We tried to hang in there as long as we could. We knew one of two big overs can get the job done for us,” Mitchell said.

Made to bat first, England led by Moeen Ali (37-ball 51 not out) and his 63-run partnership with Dawid Malan (30-ball 41) took England to 166/4.

After winning the toss, New Zealand started the evening brightly as pacers responded to the skipper’s call. Tim Southee and Trent Boult generated some nice pace and late swing. England could muster only 13 runs from the first three overs.

Openers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow got going by hitting a few fours. A bowling change in the form of Adam Milne worked for the Kiwis as Bairstow (13) was caught trying to slog. England were 40 after the powerplay overs.

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi kept it tight and trapped Buttler (29). In the middle overs, Malan and Ali changed the course of the match. Finding gaps, rotating strikes and punishing bad balls, the pair took England to 115/2 by the end of 15 overs. New Zealand looked to have lost their way but immediately Southee got Malan (41) with a short ball, ending a fine 63-run third-wicket stand.

Ali ensured late fireworks and Livingstone joined the party. In the last over, Neesham halted the 40-run stand with the scalp of Livingstone (17) but Ali struck a boundary to reach his 50 and England 166.

In reply, the Kiwis suffered early setbacks. Chris Woakes snared Martin Guptill (4) and Kane Williamson (5) with New Zealand at 13/2 from three overs.

With the skipper, uncharacteristically, perishing under pressure, new batters Mitchell and Conway had a tough task to rebuild and keep the asking run rate in check. They hit fours off Chris Jordan, Woakes and Adil Rashid.

New Zealand reached 36/2 after six overs and 58/2 at the half-way stage. With 109 more runs needed to book a semis spot, they needed a move on and showed intent to fight.

Mark Wood was hit for a six and four conceding 15 runs. Livingstone added to the misery by getting Conway stumped and Glenn Phillips (2) cheaply. But there was a valiant late fight by Neesham and Mitchell gave the finishing touches.

England skipper Morgan lauded New Zealanders for not giving up at any stage.

“We felt right in the game at the half-way stage. In a tight game we came at the wrong end of the stick. We were right in the game, probably till the 17th over. He (Neesham) sort of swayed the game in New Zealand’s favour,” Morgan said.

Meanwhile, Williamson said keeping wicket in hands was the key.

“It was a competitive total. It was an outstanding effort from Mitchell. T20 is a game of small margins. We had wickets in hand and were able to capitalise on it. Neesham changed the momentum of the game,” he said.

“We’ve played each other on a number of occasions, knew it would be a great game of cricket, and really chuffed with the heart that was shown throughout that performance. Outstanding from Mitchell at the top.”

New Zealand will now meet either Australia or Pakistan in the final.


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