Joe Root’s fifty and a lower-order rescue job from Jos Buttler helped England set New Zealand 311 to win in their Champion’s Trophy clash on Tuesday.
The respective aims of the sides going into the match could not have been more different. The hosts, England, are looking for their second win in as many matches to all but lock up top spot in Group A. New Zealand, meanwhile, are in need of a win having had their tournament opener against Australia rained out thus earning them a solitary point.
The visitors won the toss and elected to field first. Though clear skies greeted the players at the start of play, the cloud cover which arrived, later on, would have undoubtedly influenced their decision.
England made a steady start thanks to Alex Hales and Jason Roy, reaching 31-0 after seven overs. Adam Milne ensured that Roy’s dismal run of late, continued when he sent him on his way, bowled for thirteen.
Joe Root and Hales kept the scoreboard ticking and guided England past 5o after ten overs. The pair continued in this fashion by mixing four and five-run overs with bigger overs that earned them nine or ten runs. Root brought up Englands three figures with a boundary off James Neesham in the 20th over.
After being hit for six by Hales, Milne responded in the best way possible by disturbing Hales’ timber which saw him gone for a fine 56 that featured three fours and two sixes.
Captain Eoin Morgan’s stay at the crease was brief before Corey Anderson had him caught by Luke Ronchi for 13. Undeterred, Root continued on his way in the company of Ben Stokes and reached his 32nd ODI fifty off 54 balls. The pair added 44 runs to the total before Anderson picked Root off.
The departure of Root for 64 (four fours, two sixes) in the 34th over, triggered a mini England collapse that saw Ben Stokes (48) and Moeen Ali (12) out in quick succession. Mitchell Santner claimed his first scalp, that of Moeen Ali, to further compound the English frustration.
Buttler’s late innings heroics steadied the England ship. He rescued an innings that threatened to go awry for England as his unbeaten 60 meant the hosts posted a competitive score