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May 10, 2010
England didn't lose a match in the Super Eight stage but the captain Paul Collingwood has called for more improvement during their semi-final. Collingwood's side beat New Zealand by three wickets in St Lucia to earn a spot in Thursday's knockout against the second-placed side from Group F.
"It was crucial you keep going and stay in winning ways," Collingwood said. "There are areas we can improve on but it was another solid performance."
England were 66 for 4 in their chase of 150 as they missed Kevin Pietersen, who was back home enjoying his first day as a father. However, Eoin Morgan collected 40 and Tim Bresnan chipped in with 23 not out to register the victory.
Pietersen's son was born on Monday and he will stay in England for a few days before returning to the Caribbean to prepare for the semi-final. "This really is the most amazing experience of my life," Pietersen said. He went home after the win over South Africa on Saturday to be with his wife Jessica Taylor, a former singer from Liberty X.
The return of Pietersen will strengthen the batting order and Collingwood said it was an area that needed some improvement. "We lost a few wickets in the middle so we could do a little bit better there and the fielding wasn't up to our usual standard, but I'm delighted with how we've gone and momentum is one of the crucial things you can have in the finals," he said. "We've got a bunch of guys who talk a lot about things off the pitch, do a lot of planning and they executed the plans well."
It was a disappointing result for New Zealand, who exited the tournament despite some strong performances. The captain Daniel Vettori said scoring runs was their biggest problem.
"We could have bowled better, we needed to take wickets in clumps and we probably took them a little too late," he said. "But in all forms of the game batting has probably been our problem - not putting enough runs on the board.
"One hundred and fifty was a competitive total but maybe 20 below par and we couldn't put pressure on them. We have some talented batsmen but there were not enough runs today."
New Zealand were in the rare position of having all 15 men fit during the event, which adds to their pain at going out before the business end. "We're going to look back on this tournament with a lot of disappointment," Vettori said. "We played well in the warm-ups, won our pool, fought hard against Pakistan, but to get knocked out today is something that will leave a bit of a bad taste in our mouth."
Vettori warned the opponents of England, who have never won a major limited-overs tournament, that they would be a threat. "Any team with momentum has a very good chance," he said. "They've won three very good games now so they'll be a very tough team to play in the semis."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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