New Zealand, on 5 points, were in slight control of the race after remaining unbeaten in the first three games, despite a rain washout being one of the results. England were in a spot of bother after managing just 3 points from the first three games, which included an upset loss to Ireland. Australia also remained in the mix despite starting the title defence with a 89-run thrashing from the Kiwis in the first game.
In the end, the semis spots were decided after the final round of group matches. New Zealand registered a big win against Ireland in the last game to secure the top spot with 7 points. And England booked the second spot in the semis for the group with a victory over Sri Lanka in the group’s final game. Here’s how the two teams’ journeys transpired Down Under:
New Zealand’s road to semis
Game 1: Oct 22 — New Zealand vs Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
New Zealand started their campaign on a high, registering a commanding 89-run win over the hosts and defending champions Australia. The defeat became detrimental for the Aussies as they failed to reach the semis in the end. Riding on Man-of-the-Match Devon Conway’s 92 not out, off 58 balls, the Kiwis posted 200/3 after being sent in to bat first. New Zealand then bowled out Australia for 111 in 17.1 overs to shock the home crowd in Sydney.
Result: New Zealand (200/3) beat Australia (111) by 89 runs | NEW ZEALAND – 2 Points
Game 2: Oct 26 — New Zealand vs Afghanistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
New Zealand’s second group game against Afghanistan in Melbourne was washed out due to rain without a ball being bowled. Even toss did not happen that fateful day.
Result: Match abandoned | NEW ZEALAND – 3 points
Game 3: Oct 29 — New Zealand vs Sri Lanka at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
After a disappointing wash-out in Melbourne, New Zealand came back to winning ways in Sydney again as they defeated Sri Lanka by 65 runs in their third game. Opting to bat, the Blackcaps were in a spot of bother at 15/3 in four overs. Glenn Phillips (104 off 64) then played one of the best knocks so far in the tournament to push their total to 167/7, which turned out to be enough for their second win in Australia. Led by pacer Trent Boult (4 for 13), New Zealand then skittled out Sri Lanka for 102 in 19.1 overs.
Result: New Zealand (167/7) crush Sri Lanka (102) by 65 runs | NEW ZEALAND – 5 points
Game 4: Nov 01 — England vs New Zealand at The Gabba, Brisbane
After remaining unbeaten in the first three matches, New Zealand were in a good position to progress further but they failed to seal the spot against England in Brisbane. England opted to bat first and set a steep 180-run target for the Kiwis. New Zealand fell short by 20 runs in the end, despite another stunning knock from Phillips, who scored 62 off 36 balls. Skipper Kane Williamson got a lot of flak for his run-a-ball 40 as they managed 159/6 in 20 overs.
Result: New Zealand (159/6) lose by 20 runs to England (179/6) | NEW ZEALAND – 5 points
Game 5: Nov 04 — New Zealand vs Ireland at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
New Zealand needed a win in their final group game against Ireland and they did it comfortably. Asked to bat first, New Zealand posted 185/6 riding on a new-look Williamson, who scored 61 off 35 balls. Ireland had a good start reaching 68 without loss in 8 overs, but spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi pulled New Zealand back with quick wickets. Ireland were eventually bowled out for 150 in 19 overs, giving New Zealand a comprehensive 35 runs victory. And with three big wins, the Kiwis who have the best NRR in the group and made it to the next stage even before the game between Australia and Afghanistan ended.
Result: New Zealand (185/6) beat Ireland (150) by 35 runs | NEW ZEALAND – 7 points, NRR 2.113
England’s road to semis
Game 1: Oct 22 — Afghanistan vs England at Perth Stadium, Perth
On a pacy Perth pitch, England invited Afghanistan to bat first and bowled them out for 112 in 19.4 overs. Sam Curran was the wrecker-in-chief for the English side, returning figures of 5 for 10 in 3.4 overs – the only five-wicket haul in the tournament so far. England lost wickets at regular intervals in their chase, but managed to pull off the win with five wickets in hand and 11 balls to spare, giving them a winning start to their campaign.
Result: England (113/5) beat Afghanistan (112) won by 5 wickets | ENGLAND – 2 points
Game 2: Oct 26 — Ireland vs England at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
England suffered the first major upset of the Super 12 stage, when they were beaten by Ireland in a rain-affected game in Melbourne. England opted to bowl first, but this time riding on an 82-run stand between Andrew Balbirnie (62 off 47) and Lorcan Tucker (34 off 27) Ireland set a competitive 158-run target for the English side. And when rain stopped the game, England (105/5 in 14.3 overs) were 5 runs behind the par score of 110. The upset left the group wide open.
Result: England lose by 5 runs (DLS) against Ireland | ENGLAND – 2 points
Game 3: Oct 28 — England vs Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
England’s situation got a beating in their next game, when rain did not allow the contest to start in Melbourne. The match was abandoned without even the toss happening. England and Australia had to share a point each.
Result: Match abandoned | ENGLAND – 3 points
Game 4: Nov 01 — England vs New Zealand at The Gabba, Brisbane
Needing two wins in the last two games, England overcame New Zealand in Brisbane to keep their semi-finals hopes alive. In the do-or-die match, Jos Buttler (73 off 47) and Alex Hales (52 off 40) gave England a flying start adding 77 for no loss in the first 10 overs. It set a platform for England to post a challenging 179/6 in 20 overs. They then restricted the Kiwis to 159/6 to register a 20-run victory.
Result: England (179/6) beat New Zealand (159/6) by 20 runs | ENGLAND – 5 points
Game 5: Nov 05 — Sri Lanka vs England at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
With New Zealand already in the semis and Australia on 7 points, the equation was simple for England: beat Sri Lanka and progress into the next stage in their last group game. England eked out a four-wicket win to join the Kiwis in the semis from Group 1. Sri Lanka opted to bat first and set a below par total of 141/8 in 20 overs, riding on Pathum Nissanka’s 67 off 45 balls. England openers gave them a terrific start, but regular wickets left them in a tricky situation before Ben Stokes (42 not out off 36) held his nerves and took the team home with two balls to spare.
Result: England (144/6) beat Sri Lanka (141/8) by 4 wickets | ENGLAND – 7 points, NRR 0.473