The BLACKCAPS have fallen to England by 87 runs in this morning’s ICC Champions Trophy match in Cardiff.
Set a demanding 311 runs to win, captain Kane Williamson (87) had his side on track at the halfway mark before things went awry on an increasingly sticky wicket at Sophia Gardens.
Williamson's men were eventually dismissed for 223, meaning they must now beat Bangladesh in their final Group A clash on Friday and hope England can beat Australia the following day to make the finals.
Word from the Skip
English runs machine Joe Root (64) was all class as he and opener Alex Hales (56) set a perfect platform for the hosts. To the BLACKCAPS credit they managed to chip away with wickets ensuring England didn't score something ridiculous. In fact, had it not been for death batting specialist Jos Butler (61*), they may not have cracked the 300.
Tim Southee (2-44) bowled beautifully. He showed all his experience and class to keep a lid on things early on and then returned to mop up the tail at the end. Used his variations expertly and perhaps gave England their golden tactic of bowling cross seamers to exploit the uncertain bounce at one end. Honourable mention to Corey Anderson (3-55), who more than fulfilled his fourth seamer role.
Trent Boult looks to have his zip back with the ball and also in the field. He popped up with two sweet catches in Cardiff during his 50th ODI. The first was a wonderful diving effort at short fine leg to dismiss the dangerous Moeen Ali. The next would wrap up the English innings - also diving ... Boulty loves diving!
After watching the first five overs of the BLACKCAPS batting innings you could have been forgiven for thinking a new pitch had been rolled out at the innings break. A combination of rain over lunch and some fired up pace bowlers had the Kiwi batsmen under the pump early on. 9-1 after the opening five overs wasn't the start they were after.
With Williamson and Ross Taylor (39) righting the ship and keeping in touch with the Duckworth Lewis asking rate, it took a special delivery (and a touch of invariable bounce some might say) to dismiss the skipper. Mark Wood got one to leap on a surprised Williamson, who could only glove one through to the keeper. His dismissal would prove the turning point of the run chase as the BLACKCAPS could only must 42 runs for the loss of four wickets in the next ten overs.
On The Ball
English quick Jake Ball was apparently close to not playing this game - I bet the English selectors are glad they gave him the nod. His potent new ball spell and final figures of 2-31 were enough to win him the Player of the Match award.
The BLACKCAPS must beat Bangladesh on Friday and hope England can defeat Australia at the Oval in London the following a day. Even a rain out in that match would give the BLACKCAPS a sniff on net run rate. But victory over Bangladesh must come first and won't be a forgone conclusion on another slow and tricky Sophia Gardens pitch.
"We knew it was a tough surface to start on. The pitch changed a little, but credit to their bowlers who got a lot out of it." - Williamson pic.twitter.com/KcGTU800h9— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 6, 2017
A moments silence at 11 o'clock for the victims of the London attack on Saturday pic.twitter.com/z2CQ6Pn03P— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 6, 2017