New Zealand elected to bowl first in Cardiff’s first match of this tournament. The Kiwis got an early breakthrough in the eighth over when Adam Milne bowled Jason Roy (13). There was controlled bowling from Tim Southee at the other end.
Alex Hales and Joe Root partnership helped England again. They made a 87-run stand for the second wicket. Hales scored his second fifty of the tournament, 56 off 62 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes.
English captain Eoin Morgan failed today scoring just 13 runs. Root and Ben Stokes had 54-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Root was brilliant again as he made 64 runs from 65 deliveries including 4 fours and 2 sixes.
Stokes fell short of a half-century by two runs as he made 48 from 53 with 4 fours and 2 sixes. England were in pressure after losing key wickets.
Jos Buttler stood up big time for England and he was accompanied by Liam Plunkett. They added 59 runs in five overs for the eighth wicket partnership. Plunkett contributed 15 off 10 with a four and six each. Buttler scored a cameo fifty. He smashed unbeaten 61 runs off 48 balls hitting just 2 fours and 2 sixes.
England failed to play full 50 overs but did manage to cross 300. The hosts posted 310 in 49.3 overs. Adam Milne and Corey Anderson scalped three wickets each despite being at the expensive side.
In reply, Luke Ronchi fell to Jake Ball in the first over. Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson made a 62-run stand. The start from New Zealand was slow, scoring 40 runs for one wicket in first powerplay.
Williamson and Ross Taylor shared a 95-run stand. Williamson started slowly and then stepped on the gas to bring his 30th ODI fifty in 66 balls. He was itching close to his 10th ODI ton but was undone by a bouncer from Mark Wood which left him finish his innings scoring 87 runs off 98 deliveries hitting 8 fours.
Taylor departed soon after making a watchful 59-ball 39. England were back in the game and New Zealand were put in a situation where they would find almost impossible to win.
England bowled the Blackcaps out for 223 runs in 44.3 overs to win by 87 runs and qualify for the Semifinals as group champions of Group A.
Liam Plunkett was the stand out bowler for England again as the right-arm seamer scalped 4 wickets for 55 runs in 9.3 overs. Jake Ball and Adil Rashid took two wickets each.
England 310 allout in 49.3 overs (Root 64, Buttler 61*; Anderson 3/55 Milne 3/79)
New Zealand 223 allout in 44.3 overs (Williamson 87, Taylor 39; Plunkett 4/55, Ball 2/31)
Result: England win by 87 runs
Man of the Match: Jake Ball (2/31)
-Ruffin, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com