CHESTER-LE-STREET: England joined India and Australia as the third team to book a spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with a resounding 119-run win over New Zealand on Wednesday. ALSO READ: New Zealand stop England after Bairstow ton

With a place in the final four up for grabs, England set New Zealand a target of 306 on the back of Jonny Bairstow‘s ninth ODI century, Jason Roy‘s fifty and another century-partnership between the two, but in response, New Zealand’s chase never took off. Their over-dependence on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor once again came to the fore as barring their 47-run partnership and a valiant 57 from Tom Latham, New Zealand struggled to get going and were eventually bowled out for 186. Mark Wood returned with 3/34. ALSO READ: England unchanged, Southee and Henry in for New Zealand

While the win has guaranteed 12 points for England, enough for a S/F berth, the result has all but shut the door on Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying since New Zealand are way ahead in terms of run-rate and certain to become the fourth semi-finalists despite having now suffered a hat-trick of defeats.

England, batted first and were provided an explosive start by Bairstow and Roy. The duo put on its third straight century-plus partnership of the tournament and chalked out England’s joint-best Powerplay of the World Cup – 67 without loss. They added 123 for the first wicket and put them on course for a strong total before an inspiring comeback from New Zealand saw them pick up five wickets for 66 runs. Buoyed by Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid’s 29 off 12, England finished on 305/8.

Mitchell Santner bowled the first over and in an adventurous start to the game, almost had Roy bowled as the ball missed the leg stump by a whisker and raced for four. There onward, Roy and Bairstow went on the attack. Tim Southee, playing his first game since January 2019 and only his fifth ODI of the year – was clattered for three boundaries in a row by Bairstow. Roy was offered gifts wide outside off and the opener responded by duly dispatching them to the ropes.

Scoring at eight an over, the 50-partnership was raised between the two batsmen off 38 balls before Bairstow and Roy reached their respective half-centuries. Roy was swatting away anything remotely short to him. A hook off Matt Henry took Roy’s top edge and the ball went over the wicketkeeper to disappear in the covers before it was reprieved.

Bairstow and Roy brought up their 10th 100-run stand in ODIs. New Zealand’s wait for a breakthrough ended in the 19th over, when Roy, having pulled James Neesham for back-to-back boundaries, stopped his drive to hit the ball to Santner at cover.

But Bairstow, who had dished out some early pyrotechnics ensured England kept ticking away. Santner was crunched for a couple of disdainful boundaries and Southee’s length ball tonked over his head for a six. Bairstow continued to torment England’s tormentor from the 2015 World Cup match between the two sides, and with two fours off three balls, brought up a rapid fifty.

Joe Root ran 20 of his 24 runs before offering a faint nick to a Trent Boult bouncer to Latham before Henry produced the wicket New Zealand wanted. Driving away from his body, Bairstow played on. From there New Zealand clawed their way back by taking out the next three wickets for 56 runs even though Eoin Morgan held one end strong. Jos Buttler scored 11 off 12, while Ben Stokes got the same number of runs off 27 balls.

In a bid to get a move on, Stokes went down the wicket to Santner but failed to clear mid-on. Three overs later, Neesham had Chris Woakes caught by Williamson, followed by Santner taking a stunning catch at cover to remove Morgan. At 7 down for 272 and with 23 balls to go, New Zealand had a chance to keep England under 300. But despite losing four wickets for 64 in the final 10 overs, England managed to cross it in the final over.

Set a stiff target, New Zealand lost Henry Nicholls for a golden duck to Woakes, the ball nipping back and thudding onto the pads. Nicholls did not go for the review. He should have because as per the replay, the ball was going above the stumps. It took New Zealand more than four overs for their first boundary, hit by Martin Guptill but the opener’s poor form continued. Jofra Archer was fast and tight, and his reward arrived when Guptill gloved one down the legside and Buttler took a screamer diving to his left.

At 14/2, it was again upto Williamson and Taylor to bail New Zealand out of trouble. Like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma did the other day, both batsmen played out the initial few overs. After 10 overs, New Zealand reached 37/2 with Williamson creaming couple of boundary off Woakes to settle nerves. Taylor overcame a tough period and got going with a couple of boundaries.

But having done the hard work and put on 47, Williamson paid the price for backing up too far. A crunching drive from Taylor touched the tip of Wood’s fingertips and went on to hit the stumps. New Zealand slumped further when Taylor was run out shortly after chancing a second run.

At 69 for 4, Latham and Neesham forged a counter-attacking stand of 50 off just 49 balls. Latham in particular was timing the ball nicely to quickly reach 35 off just 26 deliveries before Wood had Neesham chopping on. Stokes struck with his first ball to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme. Latham’s resistance ended with a tickle down to Buttler off Plunkett, following which Wood and Rashid wrapped things up.

Brief Scores: England 305/8 (Jonny Bairstow 106, Jason Roy 60; James Neesham 2/41) beat New Zealand 186 all out (Tom Latham 57, Ross Taylor 27; Mark Wood 3/34) by 119 runs.