Abu Dhabi, Nov 10 (IANS) An unbeaten half-century from Moeen Ali (51 not out off 37 balls) steered England to a decent 166/4 in 20 overs against New Zealand in the first semifinal of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday. Apart from Ali, Dawid Malan (41 off 30 balls) chipped in resurrecting England’s innings.
Put into bat bat first, openers Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler took 16 runs off the fourth over by Trent Boult after scoring only 13 runs in the first three overs. At 37/0 in five overs, England looked to finish power-play on a high. But in the next five overs, England got just 30 runs and lost Bairstow and Buttler.
Adam Milne took a wicket on his very first ball of the sixth over with Bairstow chipping an uppish drive and captain Kane Williamson grabbing the catch diving to his left. Three overs later, Buttler fell while trying to reverse sweep against leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, trapped plumb by a leg-break in front of the stumps. New Zealand almost had a third wicket if not for keeper Devon Conway dropping Dawid Malan’s catch in the tenth over.
From there, Malan brought out a flurry of exquisite boundaries, driving and lofting over extra cover against seamers and spinners. Moeen Ali found a brace of boundaries and kept the partnership ticking with Malan. Malan pulled Southee for England’s first six in the start of the 16th over. But on the next ball, the 63-run partnership came to an end as Malan tried to repeat the shot but the feather edge went behind to the keeper.
Ali took the centrestage by whacking Sodhi over deep mid-wicket for a six. Ali then began the next over with a pulled six followed by Liam Livingstone clubbing the last ball for a straight six. Livingstone slapped past Boult in the 19th over to cross the 150-mark. Though Livingstone picked out long-off in the final over off James Neesham, Ali reached his half-century with a boundary through extra cover as 99 runs came off the last ten overs.
Brief Scores: England 166/4 in 20 overs (Moeen Ali 51 not out, Dawid Malan 41, Tim Southee 1/24, Adam Milne 1/31) against New Zealand