Mitchell, Neesham put New Zealand in the final

By our correspondent

ABU DHABI: Explosive knocks from Daryll Mitchell and James Neesham enabled New Zealand to beat England by five wickets with six balls to spare in the first semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup which held here at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday night.

Chasing 167, New Zealand needed 60 runs from the last five overs. Liam Livingston bowled a tight 16th over giving away only three runs and it seemed that England took the game away from New Zealand. But it did not happen as Neesham and Mitchell had thought otherwise. It was Neesham who hit Chris Gordan for two sixes and a four in the 17th over which fetched 23 runs that brightened New Zealand’s chance of making home safely.

Neesham and Mitchell then hit Adil Rashid for one six each in the 18th over which yielded 14 runs and New Zealand were needing 20 from 12 balls. Chris Woakes was brought into the attack and Michell had nothing but to go against him, smacking him for two sixes and a four in his penultimate over that brought in 20 runs and a well-deserved win for the Black Caps who moved to the final.

Neesham hit three fours and one six in his 11-ball 27 while Mitchell hammered four sixes and four fours from 47-ball 72 not out. Earlier after losing two wickets Michell added 82 runs for the third wicket stand with stumper Devon Conway who chipped in with a 38-ball 46, smashing one six and five fours.

Liam Linvingstone bowled remarkably well, picking 2-22 in his quota of four overs while Woakes claimed 2-36 in four overs. Jordan was the most expensive of England’s bowlers who conceded 31 runs from three overs.

Earlier, after being asked to bat first England rode on a fine batting display from Moeen Ali (51*) and Dawid Malan (41) to post 166-4 in the allotted 20 overs. Moeen smacked two sixes and three fours from 37 balls. He added 63 runs for the third wicket with Dawid Malan who hammered one six and four fours from 30-ball 41.

Earlier Jos Buttler struck a solid 24-ball 29, hitting four fours while opening the innings with Jonny Bairstow who fell for 17-ball 13.

Livingstone in the end made a 10-ball 17, hitting one six and one four. Southee, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi and Neesham claimed one wicket each. Daryl Mitchell was adjudged as man of the match for his excellent batting.

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