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ICC T20: Brilliant Kiwis reach final

New Zealand reached the final of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 after defeating England in the first semi-final of the tournament by five wickets on Wednesday (November 10) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

New Zealand will now face the winner of the second semi-final clash scheduled on Thursday between Australia and Pakistan. 

Chasing a mammoth target, New Zealand were off to a shaky start but Daryl Mitchell smashed an unbeaten 72 as New Zealand chased the target with an over to spare. 

Moeen Ali shines with bat

In the first innings, Moeen Ali smashed an unbeaten 51 to steer England to a challenging 166 for four.

England lost their openers including Jos Buttler for 29, lbw off Ish Sodhi, after being invited to bat first as Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson won an all-important toss in Abu Dhabi.

But Moeen hit back with his 37-ball knock and put on a key partnership of 63 with Dawid Malan, who hit 41, for the third wicket.

Pace bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult kept a tight leash in the first three overs before Buttler smashed two successive boundaries.

Bairstow fails

Jonny Bairstow also got a couple of fours but did not look comfortable after being promoted to open in place of the injured Jason Roy.

Adam Milne replaced fellow quick Boult from one end to break through as he got Bairstow out for 13 off 17 balls with Williamson taking a sharp catch at mid-off.

In-form Buttler tried to rebuild but an attempt to reverse sweep leg-spinner Ish Sodhi got him trapped lbw for 29 off 24 deliveries.

The left-handed Malan, who was dropped on 10 by wicketkeeper Devon Conway off Jimmy Neesham, hit the first six of the innings off Southee in the 16th over but departed the next ball caught behind. 

But Moeen launched an attack as he hit Sodhi for a six and then smashed Milne for two hits over the fence.

Liam Livingstone hit 17 off 10 balls before departing and Moeen completed his first fifty of the tournament with a boundary off Neesham. 

Mitchell is the man for Kiwis

Chasing 166 for victory, New Zealand were in trouble at 13-2 and 107-4 when Jimmy Neesham turned the semi-final on its head with an 11-ball 27 to help achieve the target with one over to spare in Abu Dhabi.

New Zealand suffered early blows after Woakes struck on the third ball to send Martin Guptill trudging back to the pavilion for four.

The fast bowler then got skipper Kane Willimson’s prized scalp for five after the batsman attempted a scoop shot to be caught at fine-leg.

Mitchell and Devon Conway put on 82 runs for the third wicket but Liam Livingstone struck with his leg spin to have Conway stumped for 46.

New man Neesham took the bowling head on as he smashed Chris Jordan for two sixes – one of them nearly caught at the boundary by Bairstow but his knee touched the rope – and a four to get 23 runs from the over.

He finally fell to Adil Rashid’s googly with Eoin Morgan holding on to a catch at extra cover.

With 20 needed off the final 12 balls, Mitchell smashed Chris Woakes for two sixes and a four before his 47-ball blitz took New Zealand home.

New Zealand 167 for 5 (Mitchell 72*, Conway 46, Neesham 27; Livingstone 2-22) beat England 166 for 4 (Malan 41, Moeen 51*; Southee 1-24) by 5 wickets

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