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10-Nov-2021 17:40:00 GMT
Eng vs NZ - 1st Semi-Final, Abu Dhabi

Mitchell, Neesham fire-work takes New Zealand into the final

New Zealand 167 for 5 (Mitchell 72*, Conway 46, Livingstone 2-22, Woakes 2-36) beat England 166 for 4 (Moeen 51*, Malan 41) by five wickets

Abu Dhabi: New Zealand reach the final of the T20 World Cup with a five-wicket win over England in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The Black Caps opener carried his bat in a stunning knock, producing a brilliant late display of power-hitting as New Zealand raced through the gears to avoid a nervy finish.

Chris Woakes’ two early wickets in the Powerplay had restricted the Kiwi chase. But a steadying knock from Devon Conway and a quickfire 27 from James Neesham put New Zealand on top. And it was Mitchell who finished the job.

Woakes continued his outstanding record in the Powerplay throughout the World Cup when he gave England a big double breakthrough early on.

Woakes had been whacked for four by Guptill off the first ball of the reply, but had his revenge two deliveries later as the Black Caps dangerman miscued the easiest of catches to Moeen Ali as England got the breakthrough they desperately wanted.

And Kiwi captain Williamson fell in Woakes' next over, looking to get going after a slow start and mis-hitting a ramp shot straight to Adil Rashid to leave New Zealand two down early.

A tight remainder of the Powerplay saw New Zealand reach 36/2 after six overs, with at one stage the Black Caps failing to score a run off the bat for 12 consecutive deliveries.

Conway and Mitchell led the rebuild in search of 167 for a place in Sunday’s final, but Conway’s outstanding 46 off 38 came to an abrupt end when he was stumped off Livingstone.

But Conway's departure proved to be the moment New Zealand hit the accelerator, racing to victory with five balls to spare.

Earlier, Ali and Dawid Malan helped England reach 166/4 in an occasionally scratchy first innings. Scoring was slow and steady for much of England’s effort with the bat, with openers Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler steady but unspectacular through the powerplay, before Malan and Ali’s rebuilt the innings.

Some big hits late on from Livingstone and Ali, who finished on 51*, helped England to 166/4. But England needed a big effort from their bowling attack to tie New Zealand down in the reply, and were unable to do so, missing out on a third-straight place in a World Cup final.

England’s openers negotiated the threat of early overs from Tim Southee and Trent Boult to build a platform during the Powerplay.

Scoring was slow and steady, with a boundary off the final ball of the first two overs keeping the score ticking over. But 16 runs came off the fourth over as Buttler got stuck into Boult in the first real sign of attacking intent.

Bairstow, who had looked lacking in fluency after his promotion to the top of the order, hinted at finding his touch in the fifth with a straight lofted drive off Southee.

But a shanked drive off Adam Milne’s very first delivery was brilliantly caught by Kane Williamson to send Bairstow packing for 13 off 17 and bring Dawid Malan to the crease.

And form-man Buttler fell shortly after the powerplay, caught in-front off Ish Sodhi in a huge blow to England’s chances.

New Zealand missed a golden opportunity to get deeper into England’s batting line-up when Malan was dropped behind the stumps by Devon Conway in a chance that the wicketkeeper would have expected to take.

And Malan went on to lead England’s recovery through the middle overs, hitting 41 off 30 before bottom-edging a catch behind off Southee as he looked to race through the gears.

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