The ICC T20 World Cup reached the business end as England went down to New Zealand in dramatic fashion in Abu Dhabi. Look below to find out how it unfolded and the Kiwis secured their place in the final with a 5-wicket win...
ICC T20 World Cup: Neesham and Mitchell guide New Zealand to improbable win
Black Caps score 60 runs in the last four overs to stun England in the semi-finals
By A.K.S.Satish, Assistant Editor
Abu Dhabi: Jimmy Neesham’s blistering attack and Daryl Mitchell’s calculated assault ensured New Zealand avenge their 2019 defeat against England in the ODI World Cup final and book a place in the climax of the T20 version.
The Black Caps once again showed their never-say-die spirit to come back from the brink to score a stunning five-wicket win over England. Needing 60 runs off 30 balls, Neesham began the counter-attack with a 10-ball 26 and Mitchell increased the tempo to knock off those runs in 24 balls.
England were in the driving seat after dismissing the dangerous Martin Guptill and skipper Kane Williamson early. But New Zealand did not panic despite losing two of their most experienced batters and waited for the right moment to make their move. And they succeeded quite easily in achieving a difficult target against a varied attack.
When Williamson elected to bowl on a good wicket and in a knockout contest, one thought he had given the match on a platter, especially after England raced to a formidable 166 for four in 20 overs. New Zealand did not get the right start with ace left-arm pacer Trent Boult not at his best, conceding plenty of runs early in a bid to get an early breakthrough.
The Black Caps would have thanked their stars when the in-form Buttler got out playing a needless reverse sweep. But their joy was shortlived as Moeen Ali showed his ominous form by playing beautiful drives with the balls racing to the boundary.
The left-hander remained unbeaten on 51, which set the platform for England to build their innings without trying hard. The last six overs yielded 66 runs when England batted. It could have been more as Neesham had to complete the final over, but England managed to get only 10 off him. But that would not have mattered much as New Zealand could have still reached it.
NEW ZEALAND WIN BY FIVE WICKETS
What a turn around in a few overs. England blinked and New Zealand ran away to victory with one over to spare. What a cameo by Neesham. Daryl Mitchell ensured that he was there to guide New Zealand to a five-wicket victory and book a place in the final with an unbeaten 73.
Neesham goes and with it New Zealand’s chances. The left-hander brought the Black Caps back into the game, hitting 26 off 10 balls. Rashid, who gave away 14 of the first five balls, bowled a googly outside the off stump only to for Neesham to hit straight to skipper Morgan. Mitchell completed a wonderful half-century and still continues to battle his way to the target. New Zealand need 20 more from 12 balls.
Neesham’s assault gives New Zealand some hope in the semi-finals. Chris Jordan’s third over proved very costly after the England pacer conceded 23 runs, that included two wides and two sixes. After 17 overs, New Zealand are 133/4.
Livingstone completes his impressive four-over spell, giving away 22 runs and getting two crucial wickets. New Zealand are getting deeper into the hole and will be difficult to come out is as 57 required off 27 balls.
It’s a day to forget for Phillips, who got injured and hurt his hand again while trying to stop a boundary. He dropped Morgan off the last ball. The New Zealand batter tried to hit Livingstone over the long off boundary only to sky the ball into the hands of Billings. New Zealand are 107/4 in 15.1 overs.
Mitchell continues to wage his battle against England taking New Zealand past the 100-run mark in the 15th over. The New Zealand opener is batting on 45 with Black Caps 107/3 in 15 overs, needing another 60 off 30 balls.
Conway and Mitchell counter-attack to put the England team under pressure. But can they sustain it till the end is the big question? It might not be possible. The end result is a wicket. After surviving a difficult caught and bowled chance, Conway steps out to Livingstone off the next ball only to be stumped by Buttler. New Zealand are 95/3 in 13.4 overs.
New Zealand batters shift gears to match the tempo against the a fast-rising run rate. Conway and Mitchell take their team to 80/2 in 12 overs, scoring 22 runs in two overs.
Conway ends four-over boundary drought by hitting Livingstone straight over the bowlers head. New Zealand are having their backs to the wall by scoring just 58/2 at halfway stage, needing another 109 in the next 10 overs. A steep ask.
New Zealand batters are getting more and more desperate to score the runs. England bowlers are not giving anything away and with the increasing run rate, Mitchell and Conway are scoring almost run a ball, which is not enough. After 9 overs, New Zealand are 50/2, 14 runs coming off the last three overs.
England are tightening the screws on New Zealand, not giving away too many runs. At the end of powerplay six overs, the Black Caps are 36/2 with Conway batting on 14 and Mitchell 12.
Gone. Williamson goes in an un-Kaney fashion. The New Zealand skipper tries to scoop over the wicketkeeper after not getting his timing right. England have done their homework well, bowling at right areas to the New Zealand batters. The Blacks Caps have not got the start that they would have expected in a knockout game and are in deep trouble at 13/2 after three overs, with their best batters back in the pavilion.
Woakes removes the dangerous Guptill to push New Zealand on the backfoot. The Black Caps are 8/1 in one over.
Moeen Ali gives England a formidable total
Moeen Ali came to England’s rescue to guide the 50-over world champions to 166 for four in 20 overs in the semi-finals against New Zealand at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Electing to bowl after winning the toss, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson went all out for an early wicket and employed his best bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult, but could not succeed as England openers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow mixed caution with aggression.
That put the New Zealand bowlers under pressure and Williamson continued to search for the big wicket. In a bit of a desperation, the New Zealand skipper bowled Southee three overs on the trot.
Against the run of play, Adam Milne gave New Zealand the breakthrough when he dismissed Bairstow. The Black Caps were stunned when the in-form Buttler gifted his wicket. England conceded the initiative to New Zealand when Buttler played a needless reverse sweep.
But Moeen Ali filled in the space left vacant by Buttler to make a well-compiled half-century. England start with an advantage as the pressure of the semi-finals likely to affect the New Zealand batters.
England fails to capitalise on Neesham’s last over to score only 10 runs to set a very competitive target of 167 for New Zealand to chase. Moeen Ali remained unbeaten on 51 as England finish their innings at 166/4 in 20 overs.
Boult finishes his four-over spell, conceding 40 runs. England are 155/3 after 19 overs with Moeen batting on 45 and Livingstone 17. But Livingstone fails to get the elevation and is caught on the long-off boundary by Santner for 17. Skipper Eoin Morgan walks in as four balls remain in the innings. England are 156/4.
Sodhi and Southee have finished their four overs, now it remains to be seen who will operate the last three overs. Boult has been very expensive today. So it is going to be feast for England batters, who can throw their bats around. Moeen Ali is batting on 35 as England reach 130/3 in 17 overs.
With Boult going for runs today, the last 5 overs could prove costly for New Zealand. Williamson is using up his best bowlers way too early. Southee has managed to break the partnership between Moeen Ali and Malan, who was out caught behind while going for a big heave. But the pace is bowling his last over. After 15.2 overs, England are 116/3.
Milne saves a certain four though he dropped a extremely tough chance. The straight drive off Malan travelled at lightning speed, but Milne was quick enough to push his left hand out to take the pace off the ball. England reach 100/2 after 14 overs.
Malan and Moeen Ali slowly opening up, but still adopting a cautious approach. England after 13 overs, are 94/2 with 9 runs coming off Sodhi.
When Malan can play such beautiful cover drives, why play a reverse sweep? It beats me. But that’s Twenty20 cricket for you, live dangerously. Philips, who injured himself in the previous over, has conceded 11 runs off the over as England move to 78/2 in 11 overs.
It’s all happening at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium. A dropped catch, perfectly driven boundary and an injury scare. Malan survives a sharp caught behind chance off Neesham. If Conway had taken the low chance, England would have been in deeper trouble. The other left-hander Moeen Ali is looking good, a perfect replacement for Buttler. Moeen has hit two fours in two overs, a rasping cover drive in the over. New Zealand batter Phillips has injured himself badly in trying to stop a boundary off Moeen. After 10 overs, England are 67/2.
A moment of madness. Dangerman Buttler, who was striking the ball well and putting New Zealand bowlers under pressure, goes out playing a reverse sweep. Sodhi dismisses Buttler for 29. Even a review fails to save Buttler. England are 53/2 after 8.1 overs.
New Zealand now opt for double spin attack, Sodhi and Santner operating in tandem. After 7 overs, England are 45/1 with Buttler batting on 22 and Malan 4.
Milne gives New Zealand the much-needed breakthrough, dismissing Jonny Bairstow for 13. In a welcome move for England, the wicket brings in the dangerous Dawid Malan, who is replacing the out-of-sorts Bairstow. England are 42/1 after 6.2 overs.
Pressure builds on New Zealand. Buttler plays a sweetly-timed straight drive to suggest the wicket is perfect and he followed it up with his trademark cover drive to score two fours off Boult, who in his desperation for the early wicket bowled a wide bounce for the third four. After 4 overs, England are 29/0.
Williamson operates with his trusted warriors - Boult and Southee. Both pacers find the right length, pitching the ball up, to trouble the England batters. Bairstow luckily finds the inside edge off the last ball to take England to 12/0 after 2 overs.
Buttler and Bairstow off a brisk start, scoring 6/0 in the first over bowler by Southee. The New Zealander kept the batters quite in the first five balls, but strayed on to the pads in the last and was duly punished by the in-form Buttler for a four to the square leg boundary.
New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl first against England in the first semi-final at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi today. The wicket promises plenty of runs and has a slight green tinge to assist the bowlers. New Zealand have retained the same team, while England have brought in Sam Billings in place of the injured Jason Roy.
New Zealand: 1. Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips (Wicketkeeper), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Sam Billings.
Excitement building up as captains are walking up to the toss. Both teams are giving finishing touches to their preparations, getting the mind and body ready for the high-pressure situation.
Abu Dhabi: England, depleted by several injuries, will aim to continue their amazing run in the Twenty20 World Cup when they take on New Zealand in the first semi-final at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi today.
Both Eoin Morgan and Kane Williamson have mutual respect for each other but both have the tactical acumen armed with plenty of trump cards to provide the twists and turns in the high-voltage knockout clash.
Despite all the pros and cons, England have the slight edge over the tenacious Black Caps, but that would suit Williamson, who likes to pull the rug under the feet of his opponents with the help of his generals Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
The New Zealand paces will be up against Jos Buttler, who is in brilliant form striking the ball as best as he can. He is one who would not let go the scoring opportunities when he is on song.
The line-up of England batters is huge and runs deep, so it will be a clash between New Zealand bowlers and England batters on a pitch that is promising plenty of runs in the recent clashes. Who blinks first will lose their way, keep watching…