T20 World Cup: Mitchell, Neesham help New Zealand stun England to enter final

Abu Dhabi: Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 72-run knock aided by James Neesham’s quickfire cameo of 27 runs off just 11 balls helped New Zealand defeat England by five wickets to enter the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

New Zealand will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Pakistan and Australia in the summit clash on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium.

Chasing, New Zealand got off to the worst start possible as the side lost opening batter Martin Guptill (4) in the very first over bowled by Chris Woakes. The Kiwis were given a body blow in the third over as Woakes sent skipper Kane Williamson (5) back in the hut. After the end of the powerplay, New Zealand’s score read 36/2.

Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell found run-scoring difficult and at the halfway mark, New Zealand’s score read 58/2 with the side needing 109 runs to win from 60 balls. The 82-run stand for the third wicket was finally broken by Liam Livingstone as he had Conway (46) stumped at the hands of Buttler with New Zealand still needing 72 runs to win from 38 balls. Glenn Phillips (2) was the second wicket for Livingstone and England was in firm control with New Zealand at 107/4 in the 16th over.

In the 17th over bowled by Chris Jordon, James Neesham and Mitchell managed to score 23 runs, and the match swayed in favour of the Kiwis, with Williamson and team needing 34 to win from 18 balls. However, another twist came in the game as Adil Rashid sent Neesham (27) back to the pavilion, and New Zealand required 20 to win from 12 balls. In the end, Mitchell guided New Zealand to a five-wicket victory with six balls to spare.

Earlier, Moeen Ali and Dawid Malan played knocks of 51 and 42 respectively as England scored 166/4 against New Zealand. Asked to bat first, England got off to a steady start as openers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow put on 37 runs inside the five overs. However, the introduction of Adam Milne into the attack paid off straight away as he dismissed Bairstow (13) on the first ball of the sixth over, ending the first-wicket partnership.

While trying to play a reverse sweep, Buttler (29) ended up missing a straight delivery bowled by Ish Sodhi, and he was caught right plumb in front, and as a result, England was reduced to 53/2 in the 9th over. At the halfway mark, England’s score read 67/2 with Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali at the crease.

Malan and Ali kept on scoring runs at a brisk pace and the duo managed to add 43 more runs in the next five overs, taking the score to 110/2 at the 15 overs mark, setting a perfect launchpad for the rest of the batting lineup. The 63-run stand for the third wicket finally came to an end in the 16th over as Tim Southee got the better of Malan (42).

In the final three overs, England managed to add 36 more runs, taking their total past the 160-run mark. Liam Livingstone also played a crucial cameo of 17 runs off just 10 balls helping Eoin Morgan’s side post a competitive total on the board.

Brief Scores: England 166/4 (Moeen Ali 51*, Dawid Malan 42; Adam Milne 1-31) vs New Zealand 167/5 (Daryl Mitchell 72*, Devon Conway 46; Liam Livingstone 2-22).