England do not make life easy for themselves in knockout tournaments, but they secured their passage to the Champions Trophy semi-finals through a collectively impressive performance from the bowlers which followed a brisk innings from Alastair Cook after the weather had threatened to leave their hopes in Australia's hands.
But even as England were heaping pressure on New Zealand's top order as they chased 170 in 24 overs, the weather still loomed. Rain, which had caused a five-hour delay after the toss, was creeping over the Bristol Channel and although the chase was behind the rate, if the match had been abandoned before 20 overs New Zealand would have gone through and England would have needed a favour from Australia on Monday.
The 20th over, sent down by the peerless James Anderson, itself included more drama when Corey Anderson, who was added to New Zealand's squad on the morning of the match as a replacement for Grant Elliott, appeared to injure his calf after aborting a run and spent several minutes receiving treatment which did not impress Ashley Giles and David Saker on the England balcony.
Still, even after Anderson had completed the over there could have been another twist. Tim Bresnan conceded 19 in the next over as Kane Williamson, who made a brave 67 off 54 balls, and Anderson took their partnership to 73 before Williamson skied to cover off Stuart Broad whose heel was ruled, by the third umpire, to be fractionally behind the line. It was a mighty tight call.
England's new-ball bowling had soon made the chase appear far more daunting than some envisaged after their last seven wickets fell for 28 in 34 balls. Anderson set the tone with a three-over opening spell of testing pace and movement which accounted for the hapless Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill in the space of three balls in the fourth over.
When Ross Taylor was pinned lbw by Bresnan - his use of DRS did not save him - New Zealand were 27 for 3 and their hopes rested on Brendon McCullum. But none of the batsmen could get hold of England's attack.
Ravi Bopara, proving almost impossible to score off, was able to hustle through five overs for 26 and when McCullum pulled him to deep square-leg, where Joe Root held a brilliant low catch, New Zealand's chances of winning had taken an almost terminal hit. For a short while it appeared they were playing for rain, and the abandonment, with the new batsmen not exactly speeding to the wicket until Williamson and Anderson gave it one, final, forlorn effort.
New Zealand had appeared to claim a significant advantage when they won the toss, but the fact that the match was completed to the adjusted length without further interruption, and therefore the need for Duckworth-Lewis was erased, meant England did not suffer in the way that can be the case when run chases are reduced after further rain.
But it was still tricky to assess what a matchwinning total would be batting first. That England had solid progress for 18 overs was down to their captain. The one format Cook does not play for England is Twenty20, but that does not mean he doesn't want to and he showed what a complete all-round batsman he has become with 64 off 47 balls
Quite extraordinarily, he was dropped three times and all three chances were shelled by Nathan McCullum. There were two misses at midwicket when Cook has 14 and 37 and, the simplest, at backward point on 45. McCullum eventually held a return catch off the England captain which heralded an upturned in his fortunes. He ended the innings having held four chances.
For the first time in an ODI innings Cook hit more than one six. But England could not finish with a flourish as Kyle Mills, who became the leading wicket-taker in Champions Trophy history, and Mitchell McClenaghan shared seven wickets.
Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, who remained at No. 3 despite the shortened match, fell inside the first four overs, but Root was immediately busy at the crease, using his wrists to find that gaps (a skill not natural to all England's batsmen) and provided the first six over the innings when he pulled Daniel Vettori over deep midwicket.
Brendon McCullum switched his bowlers around regularly and it was the return of James Franklin that saw Cook, who reached his fifty from 39 balls, move up a gear when he straight drove his first delivery into the sightscreen at the River End. Just to show he can play "out-of-the-box" he followed that with a scoop over short fine-leg before his second life at midwicket by Nathan McCullum and he later lofted Williamson over wide long-off.
Once again England's power hitters - Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler - could not make a major impact and neither could Bopara match his recent onslaughts. But this time the bowlers did not fail in their task.