BLACKCAPS crush England to finish top of the group

The BLACKCAPS have stormed into the semi-finals after a dominant display with bat and ball against England at The Wanderers in Johannesburg.

It started up front with the bowling line up rolling England for 146 with the New Zealand openers then sharing an 84 run partnership to set up a four wicket win.

It was the worst possible start for English captain Andrew Strauss who was caught behind off the second ball of the match off the bowling of Kyle Mills after being put into bat by Daniel Vettori.

Strike bowler Shane Bond then stuck twice taking the wickets of Joe Denly and Owais Shah to have England reeling at 13 for three.

A familiar fightback from Paul Collingwood steadied the innings somewhat, but when he was caught off the bowling of Grant Elliott for 40 a collapse ensued that saw England lose their last six wickets for 65 runs.

Collingwood was given out by the third umpire early in his innings when he prematurely left his crease at the end of an over but was sportingly recalled by captain Daniel Vettori who withdrew the appeal.

Commenting after the game Vettori said, “We didn’t want to have any controversy. I think technically he was out but in the spirit of the game it was the right decision.”

On a track offering the seamers plenty of assistance it was medium pacer Elliott who did the damage as he went on to take the wickets of Luke Wright, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swan to be the BLACKCAPS best bowler with four for 31 – his career best figures.

Shane Bond signalled a return to form with three for 21 off his ten with Mills, Ian Butler and Vettori taking one each as England staggered through to 146.

It was a contrasting approach in reply with openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill playing aggressively, smashing 66 off the first ten overs.

The BLACKCAPS were relentless in their pursuit for boundaries and when England wanted to spread the field after the first ten they took the initiative and called for the batting powerplay.

Brendon McCullum was at his destructive best blasting 48 off 39 in a high risk but entertaining innings that included four boundaries and three massive sixes.

The good form of Martin Gupill continued as he played brilliantly for his 53 off 55 finding the rope on seven occasions and clearing it once – his second consecutive half century after scoring 66 against Sri Lanka two days ago.

The BLACKCAPS stumbled in the middle overs with Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Gareth Hopkins and Neil Broom going cheaply but Vettori steered his team to victory.

Vettori praised the team effort saying, “we play as a collective and realise that at adverse times we have to come together strongly. We lost three key players through injury throughout this tournament and we've had to call players in and that has build resolve within the team.”

The victory puts the BLACKCAPS on top of Group B as they get set to play the second placed team from Group A on Saturday 3 October local time, 4 October New Zealand time (1:30am).


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