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T20 World Cup: Mitchell's unbeaten fifty takes New Zealand to final

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Abu Dhabi, Nov 10 (IANS) An unbeaten half-century from Daryl Mitchell (72 not out off 47 balls), along with an explosive cameo from James Neesham (27 off 11 balls) helped New Zealand beat England by five wickets to storm into the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.

Chasing 167, New Zealand chased the total with an over to spare to win the first semi-final of the knockouts stage.

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England had an early breakthrough on third ball of the innings as Martin Guptill went early for a flick, only for the leading edge to pop to mid-on off Chris Woakes. Woakes returned in his next over to take out Kane Williamson, who in an attempt to break free walked across to scoop, only for the top-edge to lob to short fine leg. Mitchell and Devon Conway struggled for timing but hit four boundaries between themselves to end the power-play at 36/2.

Post power-play, England contained the duo with raw pace of Mark Wood and leg-spin of Adil Rashid in tandem. Conway broke the shackles by advancing down the pitch for a boundary in the tenth over. In the next over, Conway and Mitchell took a six and four respectively while taking 15 runs off Wood. The 82-run partnership for the third wicket was broken by Liam Livingstone in the 14th over as Conway tried to chase a wide delivery but missed it and was easily stumped. Livingstone had another wicket in the 16th over as Glenn Phillips holed out to long-off.

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Neesham thumped two sixes (including an attempted catch by Bairstow at long-on) and a four while taking 23 runs off Jordan in a match-changing 17th over. In the next over, Neesham slog-swept Rashid over deep mid-wicket followed by Mitchell reaching his half-century with a pulled six over long-on. But Rashid finished off with a wicket as Neesham sliced straight to extra cover.

With 20 runs needed off the last two overs, Mitchell slammed Woakes for back-to-back sixes over long-on and deep mid-wicket before finishing the chase in style with a boundary past backward square leg as England conceded 23, 14 and 20 in the last three overs of the chase.

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Brief Scores: England 166/4 in 20 overs (Moeen Ali 51 not out, Dawid Malan 41, Tim Southee 1/24, Adam Milne 1/31) lost to New Zealand 167/5 in 19 overs (Daryl Mitchell 72 not out, Devon Conway 46, Liam Livingstone 2/22, Chris Woakes 2/36) by five wickets

–IANS

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