Outstanding New Zealand beat England in thriller
Daryl Michell was the hero as New Zealand chased down 167 in Abu Dhabi to seal a spot in the World Cup final.
The Black Caps opener carried his bat in a stunning knock, producing a brilliant late display of power-hitting as New Zealand raced through the gears to avoid a nervy finish, winning with an over to spare.
Chris Woakes’ two early wickets in the Powerplay had restricted the Kiwi chase. But a steadying knock from Devon Conway and a quickfire 27 from James Neesham put New Zealand on top, with Chris Jordan's 16th over going for 23 runs to swing the match in New Zealand's favour.
And it was Mitchell who finished the job, hitting 25 off his last seven deliveries to win it with an over to spare.
Earlier, Ali and Dawid Malan helped England reach 166/4 in an occasionally scratchy first innings.
Scoring was slow and steady for much of England’s effort with the bat, with openers Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler steady but unspectacular through the Powerplay, before Malan and Ali’s partnership rebuilt the innings.
Some big hits late on from Livingstone and Ali, who finished on 51*, helped England to 166/4.
But England needed a big effort from their bowling attack to tie New Zealand down in the reply, and they were unable to do so, missing out on a third-straight place in a World Cup final.
New Zealand are in the final of the #T20WorldCup 2021 🎉#ENGvNZ | https://t.co/zXAsuGVcjZ pic.twitter.com/2PKjPlgTLX— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) November 10, 2021
Woakes continued his outstanding record in the Powerplay throughout the World Cup when he gave England a big double breakthrough as they looked to defend 166/4.
The England seamer had been whacked for four by Guptill off the first ball of the chase, but had his revenge two deliveries later as the Black Caps dangerman miscued the easiest of catches to Ali, giving England the breakthrough they desperately wanted.
And Kiwi captain Williamson fell in Woakes' next over, looking to get going after a slow start and mishitting a ramp shot straight to Adil Rashid to leave New Zealand two down early.
A tight remainder of the Powerplay saw New Zealand reach 36/2 after six overs, with the Black Caps failing to score a run off the bat for 12 consecutive deliveries at one stage.
Middle over tension
Devon Conway and Mitchell led the rebuild in search of 167 for a place in Sunday’s final, but Conway’s outstanding 46 off 38 came to an abrupt end when he was stumped off Livingstone.
England’s all-rounder bowled his full set of four overs as Eoin Morgan targeted specific match-ups, and Livingstone revelled in the responsibility, also removing the dangerous Glenn Phillips to finish with strong figures of 2/22.
New Zealand had needed 109 off the last 10 overs, and with the required rate steadily climbing it was clear that they needed a big finish. And that is exactly what they got, with Neesham launching 27 off just 11 deliveries to turn the game back in New Zealand’s favour.
Nineteen of Neesham’s runs came off Jordan’s pivotal 16th over, which went for 23 runs in total, just as a tense finish looked likely.
And Mitchell, who had anchored the innings for long periods, joined the party by going big himself to race to his half-century and finish on an unbeaten 72 from 47.
England had their chances, with Bairstow almost pulling off a magical piece of fielding on the boundary.
But, unlike at Lord’s three years ago, the momentum was with New Zealand, and Mitchell banged three maximums – one off Rashid and two off Woakes – before finishing the job with a four through backward square.
England's first innings
Earlier, England had opted to replace the injured Jason Roy with Sam Billings, with Bairstow promoted to the top of the order alongside Buttler. And the new opening pair were put straight into action after New Zealand won the toss.
England’s openers negotiated the threat of early overs from Tim Southee and Trent Boult to build a platform during the Powerplay.
Scoring was slow and steady, with a boundary off the final ball of the first two overs keeping the runs ticking over. But 16 runs came off the fourth over as Buttler got stuck into Boult in the first real sign of attacking intent.
Bairstow, who had looked lacking in fluency after his promotion to the top of the order, hinted at finding his touch in the fifth with a straight lofted drive off Southee.
But a shanked drive off Adam Milne’s very first delivery was brilliantly caught by Kane Williamson to send Bairstow packing for 13 off 17 and bring Dawid Malan to the crease.
And form-man Buttler fell shortly after the powerplay, caught in-front off Ish Sodhi in a huge blow to England’s chances.
Malan and Moeen rebuild
New Zealand missed a golden opportunity to get deeper into England’s batting line-up when Malan was dropped behind the stumps by Conway in a chance that the wicketkeeper would have expected to take.
And Malan went on to lead England’s recovery through the middle overs, hitting 41 off 30 before bottom-edging a catch behind off Southee as he looked to race through the gears.
The Malan-Moeen partnership was sent in by Eoin Morgan with the intention of targeting spin through the middle overs.
But New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson responded with some clever tactical bowling changes, using just one over of Mitchell Santner in total and going pace-heavy through the middle overs to keep the England pairing relatively tied down.
Good but not good enough
Needing a big finish to reach a competitive total, Ali and Liam Livingstone unleashed late on, with captain Morgan dropped off the final ball as England finished four down.
Livingstone’s 17 off 10 did the job for his side as a finisher, with Ali ending unbeaten on 51 off 37.
But ultimately it wasn’t enough to deny New Zealand their spot in the final on Sunday against either Australia or Pakistan.