Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 : New Zealand vs England

Key match this - New Zealand vs England at Cardiff. With two games of the group abandoned due to rains, the winner of this contest would almost certainly move to the semis. Both teams almost equal on paper, with England having the stronger batting line up, & New Zealand the better bowling pack.
However, in the final count, it was England who came on top of the Kiwis, & the contest not living upto the pre match billing.

The Kiwis won the toss & decided to chase. Put into bat, the English openers did not really fire, as Jason Ray failed again & Capt Morgan too went cheaply. However, Hales maintained his good form for a half century & Joe Root & Ben Stokes batted quite fluently to build the platform for the final assault. However, around the 41st over they were subdued at 230 for 6 & it looked like the Kiwis bowling had managed to tame the English lions. But Butler came up with a late flourish & carried the score beyond 300 with an unbeaten 61 off just 48 deliveries, before he ran out of partners. For the 8th wicket, he added a quick fire 49 runs in five overs along with Plunkett. Though they lost the last three wickets after that in a space of four deliveries, England managed to post a challenging total of 310 runs - certainly a match on. The batting is looking deeper for them with ability to go past 300 regularly.

Bowlers for England were spot on with length & line, especially Ball & Wood - new names into the side, but very impressive. The English weather, gloomy, windy & cloudy, did help them, but both of them deserve all the kudos for bottling up the Kiwi batting. The pinch hitting Ronchi failed up the order & Guptill too could not get a move on. It was left to Williamson & Taylor to construct a solid base, & they did put up 95 odd runs together, but this was not enough. Once Williamson left for a well made 87, others collapsed one after the other. Worst of the lot was Broom, coming in at the end of Williamson & wasting too many deliveries - the same can be said of Taylor also - so much experience of international cricket & yet dismal planning & application to the chase. It was disappointing to see players like Anderson, Neesham, Broom, Santner, all failing to make any mark with the bat. Kiwis missed someone like Brendon McCullum to hit against the line upfront.
What could've been a good contest between bat & ball, lost its sheen in these middle overs, as the asking rate kept piling up & batsmen kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Liam Plunkett picked up 4 wickets to clean up the innings, while Jake Ball was adjusted Man of Match for excellent bowling on top with figures of 2 for 31 in 8 overs - splendid effort for sure.
In the end, it was all over for New Zealand as they were all out for 223 runs in the 45th over - a solid victory for England by 87 runs & they become the first team to qualify for the semis. 

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