England are one step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup after their 20-run win over group leaders New Zealand in Brisbane, Australia.
Led by captain Jos Buttler’s 73 runs, they posted an above par 179-6 from 20 overs after electing to bat first.
The opening partnership between Butler and Alex Hales put on 81 runs after 10 overs and appeared to set the platform for a mammoth total before New Zealand limited them in the back end of the innings.
Only Liam Livingstone made double figures (20) besides the openers.
In response, New Zealand lost both openers early, but were once again inspired by the majestic form of Glenn Philips who scored 62 from 32 deliveries.
He took a particular liking to the English spin bowlers Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone, depositing Rashid into the top tier over mid-wicket twice in the 14th over.
However the required run rate was against the Kiwis at the back end due to a sluggish run-a-ball 40 from skipper Kane Williamson.
With the rate required up to 16 an over with three more to go, they fell short due to some magnificent death bowling from Chris Woakes and Sam Curran who forced the New Zealanders to hit towards the longer boundary.
England will need to beat Sri Lanka on Saturday to qualify for the semi-finals but have the advantage of a higher net run rate than Australia. The hosts take on Afghanistan on Friday, also needing a win.
England 179 for 6 (Buttler 73, Hales 52; Ferguson 2-45). New Zealand 159 for 6 (Phillips 62; Curran 2-26). England won by 20 runs
Sri Lanka 148 for 4 (Dhananjaya de Silva 66*; Mujeeb 2-24). Afghanistan144 for 8 (Hasaranga 3-13). Sri Lanka won by six wickets. (JC)