A 44-ball 78 from Jason Roy helped England beat New Zealand by an impressive seven-wicket margin to qualify for the final of the World Twenty20 in Delhi on Wednesday.
England's Captain, Eoin Morgan, won the toss and opted bowl first on a batsmen-friendly Delhi track. New Zealand lost opener, Martin Guptill, in the third over of the match for just 15. However, Kane Williamson and Colin Munroe added 74 runs for the second wicket from 8.2 overs.
When Williamson fell in the 11th over, New Zealand were comfortably poised at 91 runs; and looked good to post a target nearing 200. However, an impressive display from Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan restricted their opponents to just 153 in their innings. Stokes ended with the best figures of three for 26 and Jordan with one for 24. New Zealand scored just 64 runs in the last ten overs and struck only four fours and a six during that period.
England looked to their openers, Alex Hales and Roy, to give them a strong start, and they did not disappoint. Roy thumped Corey Anderson for a flurry of four boundaries in the first over itself. The early onslaught handed England the early momentum.
Adam Milne restored some sanity in the second over, in which he conceded just seven, but Roy and Hales thumped two fours and two sixes of the next two overs. Williamson, New Zealand's Captain, turned to the spin of Mitchell Santner to bail them out of trouble, but Santner too was treated with equal disdain and clubbed for two fours in his first over.
England's openers added 82 runs from 8.1 overs, before Hales perished at long-on for 20. Roy departed four-overs later to a legbreak from Ish Sodhi that kept low, and beat him, as he advanced down the pitch. Sodhi them trapped Morgan lbw from his next delivery. New Zealand hoped that the double-blow would lead to a middle-order collapse, but they were wrong, as Joe Root and Jos Buttler comfortably took them to the final with 17 balls to spare.
"The bowling unit did really well, they are a hugely dangerous line-up. I tried to get the team off to a good start and it went quite well. It was a chance to get off to a great start on a decent wicket. I gave it a crack and it came off. I got a few boundaries early and kept going from there. It's the way a lot of us play, we have that opportunity to do what they want and be free with their skills. A just looked at the runs needed and knocked them off, if you let the occasion get to you it can be to your detriment," Roy, the Star of the Match, said.
Roy's 78 is his first 50-plus score in T20Is, beating his previous best of 43 against South Africa earlier in this tournament. He took just 26 balls for his half-century, which equals the fifth fastest for England in T20Is, and the second fastest in WT20 matches.