England v New Zealand, World T20 2016, Semi-final, Delhi March 30, 2016

Roy's 78 sets up England charge to final


England 159 for 3 (Roy 78) beat New Zealand 153 for 8 (Munro 46, Stokes 3-26) by seven wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jason Roy made his first T20I half-century to fire England into the final © IDI/Getty Images

English cricket's makeover has delivered a place in the World Twenty20 final in Kolkata on Sunday. New Zealand's first defeat of the tournament, by seven wickets with 17 balls to spare, ended their involvement. Instead, it is England, an adventurous England freed of old baggage, who lie in wait for the winners of Thursday's semi-final between India and West Indies in Mumbai.

Jason Roy electrified England's reply to New Zealand's far-from-imposing 153 for 8, his 78 from 44 balls ended by Ish Sodhi's dragged-down legbreak that beat his advance down the pitch and crashed into the timber. "I've got to realise I'm not a robot," Roy said earlier in the tournament. He is precisely the opposite. At his best, he is humanity at its most tempestuous - a mini adrenalin rush - and his first T20I half-century, perfectly timed at the 13th attempt, was the second fastest in England T20 history as he racked it up in 26 balls.

There was wildness about the four boundaries he took from the first over from Corey Anderson, but he middled the ball with increasing certainty, tattooed forearms whirring. A sumptuous straight drive against Mitchell McClenaghan possessed particular poise. After such a scintillating start, he could have reined himself in against Mitchell Santner's left-arm slows, such has been Santner's effectiveness throughout the tournament, but instead despatched him with successive straight drive and sweep.

This was England's third appearance at Delhi - New Zealand, by contrast, had toured the country and were playing at their fifth different venue - and, much to their liking, the Kotla pitch became quicker with each appearance. New Zealand brought in in an extra pace bowler, Adam Milne instead of Nathan McCullum, but England prospered.

England's three group-stage victories had all been keen affairs, wins by two wickets, 15 runs and 10 runs. When New Zealand were 89 for 1 at halfway, they must have anticipated being stretched to the limit in chasing something close to 200. To be met by nearly 50 less, especially with New Zealand's most talented pace bowlers, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, again omitted as they have been all tournament, was an immense relief.

The architects of New Zealand's fade out were Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan. Stokes finished with the best figures, 3 for 26, relishing his good fortune as he took wickets with successive full tosses, but it was Jordan, eyes as wide as if he was peering into a coal cellar and gold chain dangling, who once again displayed solidity beneath the bling.

Roy's opening partner, Alex Hales, once the epitome of licentious attack, is now an old hand by comparison, a batsman who likes a quiet little look at the top of the innings: they shared a stand of 82 in 8.1 before Hales perished at long-on. Eoin Morgan, once credited with changing England's one-day batting approach, is almost formulaic by comparison: he was lbw to Sodhi's legbreak propping forward, another first-baller to go with the one against Afghanistan, his uncertain run overshadowed by England's growth under his leadership.

England, at 110 for 3 in 12.2, needed less than a run a ball and Joe Root and Jos Buttler were shrewd enough to settle matters. In Sodhi's last over they suddenly decided the celebrations had waited long enough - 22 followed; another pulled six from Buttler at the start of the next over gave him three in four balls and took England to Kolkata.

New Zealand had lost only one wicket in the Powerplay but it was the one England will have most craved. Martin Guptill, rested from New Zealand's last match because of the hint of a hamstring strain, stayed leg side of the ball to counter David Willey's inswing, and twice bludgeoned him for off-side boundaries in the opening over, but the tactic proved his undoing in the first ball of Willey's second over as he flayed a catch on the angle to the wicketkeeper.

With a little more sharpness in the field from England, New Zealand might have been more hamstrung than their Powerplay score of 51 for 1 indicated. Morgan might have run out Guptill third ball had he picked up cleanly as he bore down from mid-off; Liam Plunkett's leg-stump loosener fell to Rashid on the half volley, diving forward at short fine; and there was the hint of a stumping chance for Buttler, too, as Kane Williamson was beaten by Rashid's leg-side wide. Generally, though, their outfielding was brisk and purposeful.

Munro, an ungainly, gum-chewing slugger, served New Zealand well with 46 from 32. The left-hander had little subtlety about him but his danger was evident as he arose from his crouch to batter the leg side. Stokes was not best pleased when two thick edges disappeared through Munro's legs for fine-leg boundaries: it was not a time for trick shots.

Munro's murderous reputation against spinners left Morgan grateful for the options in a six-strong attack. Moeen Ali did briefly appear for two overs immediately after halfway to remove Williamson with a skied return catch. Then Plunkett found an answer to Munro, directing his pace as wide outside off stump as he dared. Munro flayed and Moeen took a neat catch at third man. Plunkett allowed himself a sniff of contentment.

Then came England's final squeeze. The pitch had enough life to encourage back-of-the-length options with the new ball, and the addition of two reliable death overs gave Jordan 1 for 24. New Zealand failed to score off half his deliveries and he took two safe catches in the outfield for good measure. He has arisen from uncertain beginnings to be a key player in this tournament.

The lark, though, belonged to Stokes. He was again given two England death overs because of a combative nature and ability to deliver a mean yorker. Such skills momentarily deserted him as he delivered two successive full tosses, but he was celebrating all the same as Luke Ronchi and Corey Anderson both fell to outfield catches. The sense then was that it would be England's day.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on April 2, 2016, 10:22 GMT

    @Wayne_Larkins_barnett: I am Loling at your comment. You don't even know the whole back story. When Eng lose in T20 many fans from your side say they are Test fans and T20s are just a joke anyway, but now cos Eng are in the finals suddenly these ppl have started enjoying T20. And regarding the axe, a dozen ppl from your side have already grinded a dozen of them. That's gross, isn't it?

  • Johnston on April 1, 2016, 17:43 GMT

    Harmony111 - what has this England thread to do with you anyway? Why be one of the embittered legion (usually from Australia or India) queing up with such warmth, civility and generosity to berate England at every turn? Why bring up ODI World Cups and Champs Trophy when like it or not, this is a T20 tournament that England won in 2010? Why attempt to deny England fans the right to celebrate? Clearly you've an axe to grind behind the facade.

  • Dez on April 1, 2016, 15:39 GMT

    I entirely disagree with the comment 'I maintain that Roy did not deserve to be in squad as he is not the 1st or 2nd best opener in the country'. It depends how you measure 'best'. 'Best' in T20's is NOT measured by averages, please stop pursuing that worthless assumption. 'Best' in T20 is the ability to make a match winning contribution, and for a batsmen it's about possessing a versatile shot range. Roy more than meets this criteria and is one of the best T20 openers in the country. As many of us said when the squad was announced, this squad is full of match-winners and will go further than a team of 'average' players. The fact of the matter is, without Roy's contribution v SA & NZ, England would not be in the final. That he did it under pressure should not be a surprise to anyone - he doesn't seem to notice pressure and this also would have been one of the reasons he was picked. Where would a team of batsmen averaging 40-50 with a SR of 130 have been chasing 230 against SA???

  • Harmon on April 1, 2016, 14:44 GMT

    @JG2704: When did I say Eng are lucky to be in the finals? You are ascribing to me the words of someone else. My comment was about some Eng fans saying reaching the finals one day earlier was somehow an achievement. Those were kiddish comments by ppl from your side and that prompted me to talk about the entire history, if history was the point of these chaps. You would have noted how one specific person of your ilk, who is a self proclaimed Test Snob is suddenly active here now that Eng are in the finals and is talking about what happened when. Warmth and generosity are words that not many on that ilk know so please sarcastically or otherwise, don't bring these words in here. As for the finals all the best to Eng and they may win the trophy but WI are better placed IMO and in any case, this is just a match, a kitschy T20 match on FLAT IND WICKETS right? But some Eng fans are behaving as if this is their Classic-Victorian-Golden era. What happened to their love for Tests?

  • Johnston on April 1, 2016, 9:59 GMT

    Funny that having won the T20 WC in 2010 and in their group faced 2012 (WI) and 2014 winners (SL) England are somehow lucky. I bet if Australia had gotten out of their group we'd be hearing it was all by design due to their alledged greatness.

    The McLaren Vale shiraz must be tasting particularly sour at the moment.

  • John on April 1, 2016, 6:15 GMT

    @HARMONY111 ON MARCH 31, 2016, 15:47 GMT - Thanks once more. Your warmth and generosity knows no bounds. And like you said we'll await a deserved thrashing in the final which TONOBWOY ON MARCH 31, 2016, 1:28 GMT and many others have said/intimated we're lucky to be in

  • hussuk4486239 on April 1, 2016, 4:18 GMT

    All the pool selections were OK Ind Aus and Ind NZ have hardly been in the same group in world tournaments whereas Ind SA and Ind WI have been in same group inlast two 50 over WCs.

  • John on April 1, 2016, 2:37 GMT

    MERVO ON APRIL 1, 2016, 0:16 GMT I don't care who wins as long as the process is the same for all. The pool selections favoured some sides more than others. Not well done at all.

    Good point, Mervo. After all Group 1 featured the last 3 T20 World Champions plus South Africa, whereas Group 2 only had the first two World Cup winners and Australia and New Zealand, who have never won it. However, in the end justice was done. West Indies and England beat India and New Zealand, the two teams who had beaten Australia, so the final will be between the two teams from the stronger group. No need for you to be concerned about injustice, unless of course you're thinking how tough it was on South Africa having to play (and lose to) both England and WI in the Super 10 stage.

  • John on April 1, 2016, 2:15 GMT

    @Mervo on March 31, 2016, 10:17 GMT; You sound bitter. It's all well and good pointing out what things beyond their control have gone in England's favour but every team experiences those things at various times. The fact that you refuse to give England any credit for those things that were in their control is what makes you look sad. I didn't see too many Aussies mentioning that Australia had home advantage in the last WC final when NZ had beaten them soundly in the previous game in NZ. If you can't provide any praise with your criticism then it's clear that you're just making excuses for your own team's early exit. It's also funny that you call England's the easy pool and now both finalists are from that pool. If there's no balance to your comments then they can't be taken seriously.

  • Devinderpal Singh on April 1, 2016, 2:08 GMT

    Well that was a surprise, in terms of the result, and ease of the win.

    The toss was largely irrelevant as New Zealand had defended 4 scores in a row, and England are feeling more confident about chasing, rather than defending. While Eng weren't going to make any changes for this match, NZ's decision-making was awful. After seeing Herath, Vandersay and Mathews perform so well, and Nabi and Khan in Delhi beforehand, what was NZ's excuse for not picking McCullum, and thereby testing Eng with spin, rather than pace? In these conditions, and with the opposition in mind, spin was ALWAYS going to be the bigger threat, not pace, yet NZ put their trust in excessive pace options, and rightly paid the price.

    Guptill started off well, but also got lucky as Morgan should've run him out by miles, had the ball been grabbed cleanly. His dismissal was pretty poor, given he moved to the leg-side, but tried going off-side, and had to stretch in doing so, leading to an edge to the wicketkeeper. P1 of 6.

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