A stunning run chasse in Abu Dhabi last night saw New Zealand snatching victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to some terrific big hitting by Darryl Mitchell and James Neesham. Chasing a stiff 167 to win, New Zealand were reduced to 107 for four needing 60 runs in 29 balls when Neesham walked into the crease. No team had chased that many to win a T-20 International in Abu Dhabi and the odds were against the Kiwis.
The 17th over bowled by Chris Jordan brought New Zealand back into the game as 21 runs were scored in an eight ball over with Neesham clearing two sixes and a four.
That reduced New Zealand’s target to 34 in 18 balls and in the next over Mitchell smashed a six off Adil Rashid to complete a superb half-century and they now required 21 in 14 balls. You would have expected them to milk the bowling but Neesham was dismissed in Rashid’s last delivery of the game and there seemed to be another twist in the tale.
Irish born England skipper Eoin Morgan first wanted to bring Jordan for the penultimate over but in the last minute had change of plans and trusted Chris Woakes, who had been England’s best bowler until then having bowled a wicket maiden early on in the innings, something very rare in modern day T-20 cricket.
With New Zealand needing 20 runs off the last over, Mitchell smashed two sixes off Woakes and then hit a four off the last ball of the over to complete a terrific run chase.
Mitchell’s unbeaten 72 contained four fours and four sixes and came off 47 deliveries. Neesham had hit 27 off 11 balls with one four and three monstrous sixes. Wicketkeeper Deveon Conway had steadied the ship scoring 46 runs off 38 balls with five fours and one six.
Earlier, after being put in, England posted 166 for four with Moeen Ali top scoring with an unbeaten 51 in 37 balls with three fours and two sixes. Dawid Malan had chipped in with 41 runs.
Australia will meet Pakistan in the second semi-final tonight in Dubai.
Pakistan are the only unbeaten team in the competition and they are favourites over Australia to win the game.
The finals will take place on Sunday in Dubai.