England sealed a spot in the ICC World T20 final with a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first semi-final at Delhi.
Chasing 154 to win, Jason Roy put England on course yet again with a blistering innings upfront. Though the target wasn’t as big as it was against South Africa, this knock did invoke memories of that magnificent effort.
Unlike that game, Roy did go on to complete his half-century, adding 82 with Alex Hales, helping England to their second World T20 final.
Coming into this game, New Zealand were considered favourites. Half-way into their innings, most held on to that belief as New Zealand raced to 89. Kane Williamson and Colin Munro were going strong. Munro even unleashed his share of reverse-sweeps.
At that stage, Eoin Morgan’s decision to bowl first didn’t look good as New Zealand seemed on course to a big score. The pitch seemed good for batting and the short boundaries at the Feroz Shah Kotla gave the batsmen ample opportunities to score.
That is when England started coming back. Moeen Ali dismissed Kane Williamson in the 11th over, which then sparked New Zealand’s slide. The Kiwis then kept losing wickets at regular intervals, which hindered their progress.
Corey Anderson scored 28, but the procession at the other end held New Zealand back. Consider this: The top four got into double figures but the rest failed to do so.
Ben Stokes had a major role to play in that as he finished with three for 26 in his four overs. Chris Jordan also bowled well at the death.
In reply, Roy started off with a flurry of boundaries, piercing the ring of fielders quite easily. New Zealand tried different options early, but were met with Roy’s aggression.
Hales was relatively quiet at one end as Roy did most of the scoring. In the first over, he picked four fours, though a couple of them were off edges. That set the momentum for the innings and Roy just continued from there.
By the time he was dismissed for 78 off 44 balls, England needed 44 off 47 balls. Eoin Morgan was dismissed next ball by Ish Sodhi, but that was only a minor hiccup in a largely smooth run-chase. Joe Root and Jos Buttler then knocked it off with almost three overs to spare.
England now move to Kolkata for the final and will await their opponent from the clash between India and the West Indies. Williamson and company head home thinking what might have been. No team has now remained unbeaten in this World T20.