There’s high drama at the top in Group 1 as three teams are now tied at 5 points, vying for semi-final spots in the ICC men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
By dominating their Tuesday match against New Zealand, England have swung back into the mix of things. Winning the toss and batting first, the English posted a total of 179 for the loss of 6 wickets in 20 overs. Captain Joss Buttler and fellow-opener Alex Hales gave their innings a solid start, with an opening partnership of 81 runs. Buttler was more cautious as Hales raced off to a 52 from 40 balls, smashing 7 fours and a six. When Hales departed on a Mitchell Santner delivery, his skipper took over the reigns, scoring a blistering 73 off 43 balls and despatching 7 fours and 2 sixes. The knock won Buttler the Player of the Match award. The bulk of England’s lower order could not carry the momentum however and fell cheaply, Liam Livingston making for the only double-digit exception at 20. New Zealand’s bowling was marked by a troubling number of missed catches.
Chasing down what seemed like standard day’s work for the on-roll Black Caps, they could not quite catch up to the asking run rate. For a moment in the middle ten overs though, captain Kane Williamson and in-form Glen Phillips did make the target seem an easy meal. Williamson added a well-paced 40 off 40, while Phillips took charge with a 62 off 36, with 4 fours and 3 sixes. Sam Curran though swung the match in England’s favour taking Phillips and making the crucial break through. In the final overs, Curran also choked out the Kiwis, restricting them to 159/6.
In Group 1, therefore, if all three of New Zealand, England and Australia win their final matches then it will come down to Net Run Rate (NRR). Australia’s -0.304 puts them on the back foot in that column, but Aaron Finch’s side play a day before England, so can lay down a marker and put the pressure on if they manage a large margin of victory over Afghanistan on Friday.
Playing the following day means England will know exactly what they require to qualify when they face Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Should Australia fail to catch England (+0.547) and New Zealand (+2.233) on run rate then both of those sides will know that victory by any margin in their respective final matches will send them into the semi-finals.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan, easily chasing down 144 in 18 overs. Sri Lanka could yet qualify. A win over England in the last game of the group would see them into the semi-finals should one of New Zealand or Australia have lost the day before.