Australia will need a massive win over Afghanistan and a favour from Sri Lanka in order to reach the T20 World Cup semi finals after England knocked off New Zealand.
In what loomed as a must-win clash after a shock loss to Ireland and a washout against Australia, England played its most complete match of the tournament, running out 20-run winners over the Black Caps.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, England skipper Jos Buttler led from the front, shaking off a recent form slump to slam 73 off just 47 deliveries in a Player of the Match performance.
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“We had a poor performance [against Ireland] but a lot of confidence in the group, we left it all out there tonight,” Buttler said after the match.
Jos Buttler found some form with the bat to help his side seal a vital 20-run win over New Zealand (Getty)
“It’s a ruthless tournament, South Africa went out last year with four wins out of five. You expect to be under pressure.”
Buttler was ably supported by his opening partner Alex Hales (52 off 40) as the duo set the highest partnership for the first wicket at this year’s World Cup with an 81-run stand.
The platform set by the opening pair allowed England to set an imposing total of 6-179.
In response, New Zealand never quite recovered from the early exits of openers Finn Allen and Devon Conway, eventually ending with a score of 6-159 off its 20 overs.
The result helped England rise above Australia into the second semi final spot in Group 1, with New Zealand still topping the table.
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All three teams are on five points apiece, but Australia is currently third due to its extremely poor net run rate (-0.30) stemming from the hiding it received against the Black Caps in the World Cup opener.
Australia, which faces Afghanistan in its final group stage match on Friday night, will need to win by over 60 runs and hope that Sri Lanka either beats England or runs Australia’s rivals very close.
New Zealand, despite having the best net run rate in Group 1 (+2.23), will still need to beat Ireland in its final match on Friday afternoon to clinch a semi-final spot, but could still advance if one of Australia or England loses.
England will face Sri Lanka at the SCG on Saturday evening, with that match likely to decide Australia’s World Cup fate.
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Source by wwos.nine.com.au