Cricket

2019 Cricket World Cup – Relief for England as Semi Final place confirmed

England’s win in their final group game against New Zealand at Chester-Le-Street, Durham, ensured that they qualified for the Semi Final knockout phase for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The win means England finished their 9 group games with 12 points – 6 wins and 3 losses – and it locks them into third place. They will meet either India or Australia in the semi final of the #2 v #3 placed teams, which will be played at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Thursday 11 July – just three days before the final which is on Sunday July 14th. The first Semi Final, between the #1 and #4 placed teams, takes place two days earlier – on Tuesday 9 July at Old Trafford, Manchester.

England went into the game with New Zealand knowing that it was a ‘win and in’ scenario. A loss would have opened the door for Pakistan, who, with a win in their own final group game against Bangladesh, would have overtaken England for 4th place. But, despite the knowledge and associated pressure, England played with the confidence needed and taken from their critical, vital win over India, and won the game with considerable ease.

Once again, England won a vital toss and batted first. They seem to have abandoned their preference of chasing down totals – noting that many teams in this World Cup have got close, but ultimately failed, in chasing totals. Again, the opening batting pair for the host nation set a brilliant platform with another superb partnership – hitting 123 in just over 18 overs before Jason Roy was set up by James Neesham and chipped a simple catch to Mitchell Santner. But Jonny Bairstow (above) continued his superb form and completed back to back centuries as England looked to set a mammoth target.

But the Kiwi bowlers, on a pitch that slowed down dramatically as the match went on, fought back and restricted England to *just* 305, taking 8 English wickets along the way. After Bairstow was dismissed for a brilliant 106 (off 99 balls), no other England batsmen reached 50, and only skipper Eoin Morgan contributed anything more than 25.

It was a total that was vulnerable – but defendable.

Defendable it proved.

As crucial an opening pair with the bat as Bairstow and Roy have been, Chris Woakes (above) and Jofra Archer have been equally crucial an opening pair for England with the ball. An uber consistent line and length have suffocated opposition opening pairs looking for a quick start, and the ability to take early wickets also keep run chases very much in check. New Zealand faired no better – losing both openers to England’s deadly duo in the first 5 overs with just 14 runs on the board and for once, the Kiwi partnership of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor could not keep New Zealand in the game. Wickets fell consistently, with only wicketkeeper Tim Latham offering any real resistance, smashing 57 off 65 balls.

New Zealand seemed to be very aware that even with a loss, their own place in the Semi Finals looked assured. A Pakistan win over Bangladesh would put them level on points with New Zealand, but it would take something of a miracle result for their Net Run Rate to become better than the Kiwis. From a very early stage, the Kiwis looked to just occupy the crease and protect their NRR as much as possible, knowing the game was gone. It didn’t make for much of a spectacle, but New Zealand will not care overly about that – making the final four their objective over pleasing the crowd.

Eventually, England bowled New Zealand out for 186 – with the Kiwis lasting 45 overs of their allotted 50.

After the game, England captain Eoin Morgan showed signs of relief at securing their Semi Final place – and acknowledged that he and the team needed a break – with over a week before their Edgbaston appearance to wait, saying in an interview :“I can’t wait to get away from a cricket field. The last few weeks have been extremely intense. We’ve gone through the highs and lows of winning and then performing at different stages. We’ll have a few days off and everyone will be encouraged to get away from the game.” 

Whilst it has been a roller coaster ride for England in making the Semi Finals, neither Australia or India will fancy facing them – especially at Edgbaston, scene of their recent win over India – and a ground England are notoriously hard to beat at.

ENGLAND V NEW ZEALAND – MATCH SUMMARY

  • England Batting : 305/8 – Bairstow 106, Roy 60, Morgan 42
  • New Zealand Bowling : Neesham 2/41, Henry 2/54, Boult 2/56
  • New Zealand Batting : 186 all out – Latham 57, Taylor 28, Williamson 27
  • England Bowling : Wood 3/34, Stokes 1/10, Archer 1/17, Plunkett 1/28
  • Result : ENGLAND WON BY 119 RUNS
  • Toss : England won, elected to bat
  • Man of Match : Jonny Bairstow
  • Venue : Chester le Street, Durham
  • Date : Wednesday July 3, 2019