New Zealand produced a stunning late blitz to upset pre-tournament favourites England by five wickets and book their place in Sunday’s final of the Twenty20 World Cup.
In pursuit of 167 to win at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the first semi-final on Wednesday, the Black Caps found themselves struggling on 58 for two at the halfway stage but then smashed 109 runs off the next 54 deliveries to overhaul their target with an over to spare.
Opener Daryl Mitchell spearheaded the chase, belting an unbeaten 72 from 47 balls with four fours and four sixes, while Devon Conway made 46 from 38 balls and Jimmy Neesham, an 11-ball 27.
England had earlier rallied to 166 for four after being sent in, Moeen Ali top-scoring with 51 not out off 37 deliveries and putting on 63 for the third wicket with Dawid Malan whose 41 came from 30 balls.
Moeen, who crunched three fours and two sixes, added a further 40 for the fourth wicket with Liam Livingstone (17) to get England past the 150-run mark.
Opener Jos Buttler had earlier struck 29 off 24 balls in a 37-run, opening stand with Jonny Bairstow (13).
England then took command of the contest when seamer Chris Woakes claimed the massive wickets of Martin Guptill (4) and captain Kane Williamson (5) in successive overs, to leave New Zealand slumping at 13 for two in the third over.
However, Mitchell showed his class, anchoring a critical 82-run, third wicket partnership with Conway, who counted five fours and a six in his knock, as the Black Caps fought back gallantly.
Livingstone turned the game back in his side’s favour when he knocked over both Conway and Glenn Phillips (2) in successive overs, dismissals which left New Zealand with all to do at 107 for four at the start of the 16th over.
They then needed nearly 15 runs per over off the last four but Neesham entered to lash a four and three sixes in a 40-run, fifth wicket partnership with Mitchell, to put the game back in the balance.
Barbados-born fast bowling all-rounder, Chris Jordan, coughed up 23 runs in the 17th over, leg-spinner Adil Rashid gave up 14 off the next and Woakes went for 20 in the penultimate over, as New Zealand clinched an emphatic victory.
England, the 2016 losing finalists and reigning 50-over World Cup champions, beat West Indies on the opening day of the T20 World Cup after bundling out the reigning champions for a near historic low of 55, and lost only a single game to top Group 1.
Today’s second semi-final will see Australia clashing with unbeaten Pakistan.
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