Images from Wednesday’s World Cup match between England and New Zealand, at Chester-le-street.
IMAGE: England opener Jonny Bairstow celebrates after scoring a hundred against New Zealand. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Jonny Bairstow hit a century as a dominant England crushed New Zealand by 119 runs to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup, in Durham, on Wednesday.
Bairstow smashed 106 off 99 balls to become the first Englishman to score back-to-back hundreds in a World Cup as the hosts amassed 305 for eight on a pitch that got slower as the game progressed.
New Zealand did well to limit England to a little over 300, considering the start provided by Bairstow and Jason Roy (60 off 61), who shared an entertaining 123-run stand after Eoin Morgan opted to bat.
IMAGE: England pacer Mark Wood celebrates after dismissing James Neesham. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
However, moments of brilliance from England and some ordinary cricket from the Black Caps led to their downfall as they folded up for 186 in 45 overs.
New Zealand, who lost their last three leagues games, ended up with 11 points from nine games but still remain in hunt to clinch the fourth and final semi-final spot.
They have a much better net run-rate than Pakistan, who have nine points and must beat Bangladesh by a big margin in their final league match to entertain hopes of pipping New Zealand for the remaining semi-final berth.
England, on the contrary, got their act together following the defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia.
IMAGE: England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, right, successfully appeals for the run out of Ross Taylor. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
The pre-tournament favourites again look like the team to beat, having got the better of India and New Zealand. If things stand on the points table as they are, second-placed India will meet third-placed England in the semi-finals.
A professional performance on Wednesday raised hopes of England finally winning their maiden World Cup following heart-breaking losses in three finals (1979, 1987 and 1992).
New Zealand, who lost to England for the first time in a World Cup since the 1983 edition, were virtually out of the game after losing their top four for 69 runs. Both their key players, captain Kane Williamson (27) and Ross Taylor (28), were run-out, leaving the team in deep trouble.
Williamson, who was backing up too far, was rather unlucky as Mark Wood found a deft touch on his follow through. In the following over, Taylor went for a risky second run which was avoidable at that juncture of the game.
IMAGE: England’s players celebrate the dismissal of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
The fatal run-outs came after New Zealand lost their openers, Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls, early in the chase and were reeling at 37 for two in 10 overs. .
Earlier, Bairstow, who had smashed 111 against India in England’s previous outing, hammered 106 off 99 balls to lay a solid platform in the must-win game.
Openers Jason Roy (60 off 61) and Bairstow, hit as many 15 fours and a six in his knock, were in punishing mood for the second game in succession, sharing an entertaining 123-run stand after England opted to bat.
With England cruising at 194 for one in the 31st over, it seemed the home team would bat New Zealand out of the game.
IMAGE: Jason Roy scored 8 fours in a brisk 60 off 61 balls. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
However, with the wicket getting slower as the innings progressed, New Zealand fought their way back into the game on the back of some tight bowling.
Trent Boult (2/56) was impressive again and removed Joe Root (24) just at the right time to trigger a mini collapse that also led to the fall of centurion Bairstow and the dangerous Jos Buttler (11), leaving England at 214 for four.
Spinner Mitchell Santer, who had opened the bowling, then removed the in-form Ben Stokes (11) to make it 248 for five.
The onus, then, was on captain Eoin Morgan to come up with some late fireworks, but he too perished after scoring 42 off 40 balls.
Adil Rashid (16 off 12) and Liam Plunkett (15 not out off 12) scored a few much-needed boundaries to take their team past 300.
IMAGE: Trent Boult, right, high-fives Kane Williamson, who caught Jos Buttler off his bowling. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Matt Henry (2/54) and James Neesham (2/41), too, put up impressive bowling performances for New Zealand.
New Zealand were dealt a blow before the start of the game, with pacer Lockie Ferguson being ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Tim Southee, playing his first game of the tournament, leaked 70 runs in nine overs.
The winner of the game qualifies for the semi-finals.
For the record, England have never beaten New Zealand in a World Cup game since 1983.