England qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals after a 10-run win over New Zealand in Cardiff overnight.
In a weather-affected match that saw both sides reduced to 24 overs, England were bowled out for 169, with Alastair Cook (64 off 47 balls) and Joe Root (38 off 40) the stars for the winners.
Kyle Mills (4-30 off 4.3 overs) and Mitchell McClenaghan (3-36 off five) were the chief destroyers for New Zealand but they were left with too much to chase after they lost early wickets.
Kane Williamson (67 off 54) and Corey Anderson (30 off 24) gave New Zealand a glimmer of hope with an excellent 73-run partnership for the sixth wicket but they fell 10 runs short in the Welsh capital, ending at 8-159.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and sent England in, a decision that paid dividends after the early departures of Ian Bell (10) and Jonathan Trott (eight).
Cook and Root combined for a 75-run union for the third wicket though, and they did it in exactly 11 overs as they both swung hard.
Cook was amazingly dropped three times by Nathan McCullum – on 14, 37 and 45 – while Root also had a reprieve when he was given out lbw on 28, only to successfully review the decision.
Daniel Vettori (1-27 off five) bowled tightly for the Kiwis in the midst of aggressive batting, but it was McClenaghan – who has starred in the tournament so far – who removed Root when he was caught behind for 38.
Cook – who hit two sixes in a one-day international for the first time ever – saw his luck eventually run out when he was caught and bowled, ironically by Nathan McCullum, and it triggered a collapse.
England lost their last seven wickets for 28 runs, in 35 balls, as McClenaghan and Mills ran through their opponents.
New Zealand made a disastrous start to their run chase, as wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi (two) skied Jimmy Anderson (3-32 off five) to Trott at third man.
Martin Guptill (nine) was bowled by Anderson, while Ross Taylor (three) was trapped lbw by Tim Bresnan (2-41 off five).
And when Brendon McCullum (eight) and James Franklin (six) both departed to the gentle seam bowling of part-timer Ravi Bopara (2-26 off five), the Kiwis were reeling at 5-62 in the 14th over.
Williamson played a superb innings though, scoring freely in the absence of a partner.
Anderson did his job, turning the strike over, and Williamson landed a series of late blows – he hit eight fours and one six – to give England a scare.
New Zealand took 19 runs off Bresnan's fourth over, the 21st of their run chase, to leave them needing 36 off the final three overs.
Broad quickly removed Williamson though, and although the wicket was plagued by doubt – a review was consulted which appeared to show none of the bowler's foot behind the crease – the batsman had to go after he skied a ball to Anderson.
And that ended New Zealand's charge, despite some late hitting from Nathan McCullum (13) as Anderson wrapped up the win with a wicket from the last ball of the match.
New Zealand will now hope Australia beat Sri Lanka on Monday, but not by a massive margin, which would allow them to reach the semi-finals.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 17 June, 2013 7:54AM AEDT