Published: Wed, June 07, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Blackcaps crash to heavy defeat to hosts England at Champions Trophy

Hosts England have become the first team to qualify for the Champions Trophy semi-finals after hammering New Zealand by 87 runs in Cardiff.

But Jos Buttler s dashing unbeaten 61 off 48 balls, including a couple of extravagant sixes, helped take them to 310 all out. The ball was going out of the entire ground until it hit the camera gantry.

But soon after bringing up his 60-ball half century, Hales also fell to Milne (3-79), bowled by a well-disguised slower-ball after having launched the Kiwi quick for a superb straight six the ball before as England looked to target the short straight boundaries at the Swalec. With a well-rounded bowling attack, sharp fielders and ODI batsmen of the calibre of Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, no one could accuse New Zealand of being a one-man team.

New Zealand were 158/3 when Williamson left on 87 after being caught by Buttler following a cute delivery from Mark Wood that went across seam.

But no matter the conditions, New Zealand will struggle to go all the way in this tournament if the middle-order topples in a similar fashion.

England, already sure of a spot in the last four, play Australia at Edgbaston 24 hours later.

Victory saw England into the last four of a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day worldwide sides after an eight-wicket defeat of Bangladesh at the Oval last week, regardless of the result of their last Group A match against arch-rivals Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday. Jimmy Neesham hit a six off Plunkett but fell next ball when he found Hales in the deep. "They seem to produce limited-overs cricketers at will", the former Ireland global added.

New Zealand, set 311 for victory, were bowled out for 223 with 39 balls left in their innings.

But Buttler ensured England get past the psychological 300-run mark with a crucial 49-run stand off just 30 balls for the eighth wicket with Liam Plunkett (15). Rare moments of ambition on a workmanlike day, but by the time Southee ended England's innings three deliveries early with wickets in successive balls enough to swing the match in England's favour. "They didn't give us a lot and deserve everything they got today".

Williamson afterwards said England stepped up with both bat and ball.

The chase, on a cool, blustery day, began badly when Luke Ronchi was bowled by the first ball he faced from out-of-sorts seamer Jake Ball, who was man of the match.

The second, in central London on Saturday, happened within a mile of the hotel some England players were using rather than travelling home between matches.

Stokes had looked in ominous form until a poorly played ramp shot to third man off Trent Boult (1-56), who then pulled off a stunning overhead catch to dismiss Moeen Ali (12). "He's a very good bowler, unique in the fact that he bowls at such good pace, off maybe ten-metre run-up, which you don't see too much around the world", said Williamson.

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