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England beat rain to reach semi-finals

A tigerish England overcame New Zealand and the weather at Cardiff Wales Stadium to book a place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

Alastair Cook’s men looked set to lose control of their own fate as persistent rain in the Welsh capital threatened to wash out the penultimate fixture in Group A.

However, the showers eventually relented to allow a 24-overs-a-side encounter, which England won by 10 runs when successfully defending a total of 169 all out.

Cook underpinned the home batting effort with a 47-ball 64, although the skipper was dropped on three occasions by Nathan McCullum.

After Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott had fallen inside the first four overs, Cook shared 75 with Joe Root and continued to prosper once the Yorkshireman had top-edged a pull to be the second of three victims for Mitchell McClenaghan.

However, Cook’s departure - to a return catch by Nathan McCullum - started a collapse that saw the final seven wickets add only 28.

Kyle Mills did much of the damage and finished with 4-30, but England - led by the superb James Anderson - then applied immediate pressure with the ball to undermine New Zealand’s chase.

Anderson struck twice in three balls to remove the Black Caps’ openers and the required rate gradually spiralled out of control as Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum also departed cheaply.

By the halfway stage of New Zealand’s innings, the greatest threat to England’s victory push appeared to be from the darkening skies – with 20 overs necessary to avoid a no-result.

Yet the rain thankfully stayed away and, although Kane Williamson kept his side’s hopes alive with a valiant 67, New Zealand finished on 159 for eight.

Williamson's exit - which saw the number three offer up a steepling chance to cover off Stuart Broad in the 22nd over - all but ended the game as a contest. Yet it took some time to confirm the dismissal as Broad was painfully close to having overstepped.

While Anderson ended as the pick of England's attack with 3-32, there was also a notable contribution from all-rounder Ravi Bopara - who proved difficult to get it away en route to 2-26 from five overs.

New Zealand must now wait on the result of tomorrow’s match between Australia and Sri Lanka at The Oval, with the latter guaranteed to qualify alongside England should they win.

Live Text Commentary

New Zealand Innings

7:59pm – END OF MATCH – NZ 159/8 – ENGLAND WIN BY 10 RUNS AND QUALIFY FOR CHAMPIONS TROPHY SEMI-FINALS! - James Anderson starts the final over with a wide, but England ultimately make it over the line with a degree of comfort to book their place in the last four. McCullum was caught behind off the final ball of the match to round off a fine display in the field from the hosts. 

@ECB_Cricket on Twitter: NZ need 23 from the last over to win and one less to go through with a tie

7:48pm - WICKET! C Anderson c J Anderson b Bresnan 30; NZ 140/7 - That might be that. Corey Anderson aims a big slog at Bresnan but picks out his namesake on the long-on rope.

7:46pm - Nathan McCullum is the new batsman and New Zealand need 31 from 12 balls to win. A tie would send the Black Caps through, however.

7:42pm - WICKET! Williamson c Anderson b Broad 67; NZ 135/6 - Anderson takes a steepler to bring Williamson's fine innings to an end, but there is almost a let-off for the batsman as replays show Broad was millimetres from over-stepping!

7:37pm - A leg-side six to Williamson off Bresnan keeps the Black Caps in the hunt and the number three then pulls for four more before Anderson edges down to the third man fence. New Zealand now require 36 from 18 balls, with 19 having come from that last over.

7:33pm - FIFTY! Williamson (48b 7x4 0x6) - Relief! We have a completed game and England are closing in on a semi-final berth. Their opponents will need to collect 55 from four overs to steal victory. Williamson has passed 50.

7:28pm - Corey Anderson has picked up an injury and needs treatment. The delay is not a welcome one for England, who will be praying the rain does not return with five balls still needed for a completed game!

7:18pm - Anderson helps New Zealand’s cause by pummelling Tredwell high over long-on and into the Taff. Bopara continues to play a valuable role, however. The all-rounder has been difficult to get away all game and finishes his fifth over with 2-26, despite a mis-field from Broad at mid-off enabling Anderson to pick up four. New Zealand require 70 from 36 balls.

7:08pm - Wiliamson, now partnered by Corey Anderson, continues to make healthy progress, but New Zealand need some fireworks now if they are to get home from here.

@ECB_Cricket on Twitter: NZ need 96 from nine overs ... and we need to see five more overs for a completed game. It's staying dry for now   

6:59pm - WICKET! Franklin c Morgan b Bopara 6; NZ 62/5 - England take another step towards the last four as Franklin drives loosely at the accurate Bopara to be caught at backward point. The clouds remain grey, but the showers are staying away for now.

6:55pm - Williamson is playing something of a lone hand here. He goes aerial to collect a straight four off Tredwell. New Zealand now need 113 from 11 overs.

6:49pm - WICKET! McCullum c Root b Bopara 8; NZ 48/4 - A superb diving catch by Joe Root at deep square-leg accounts for McCullum and strengthens England's position further. I really hope it stays dry for another half-hour!

6:45pm - Tredwell comes on and England will want the overs to hurry by. The off-spinner is straight on the money and New Zealand's asking rate is approaching 10. Will the rain stay away to allow the game to be completed?

6:41pm - A crunching pull from Williamson brings a rare Black Caps boundary. Bopara then gives up two in his second over, but England will be concerned as it looks as though the weather is worsening.

6:33pm - England are firmly on top for the time being and will be desperate for the rain to stay away. We need to have 20 overs in this innings for there to be a result. Ravi Bopara takes over from Anderson and runs remain hard to come by as the ball nips around.

6:26pm - WICKET! Taylor lbw Bresnan 3; NZ 27/3 - Bresnan finds sharp inward movement to rap Taylor on the back leg. England's lbw appeal is answered in the affirmative and a New Zealand review proves unsuccessful.

6:22pm - The Black Caps end the mandatory five-over powerplay on 17 for two, 16 runs worse off than England at the same stage, following a probing set of six from Bresnan. Anderson is bowling beautifully, with the aid of appreciable seam movement, but concedes four when a drive from Williamson beats mid-on.

6:11pm - WICKET! Guptill b Anderson 9; NZ 15/2 - Two in three balls for Jimmy! Anderson gets one to seam back off a length at Guptill, who plays on.

6:09pm - WICKET! Ronchi c Trott b Anderson 2; NZ 14/1 - England's good start gets better as Ronchi gets a thick top edge down to third man in Anderson's second over. Kane Williamson is the new batsman.

5:59pm - MISSED CHANCE - Stuart Broad gets England's bowling effort off to a good start by conceding just two in the first over. Luke Ronchi then gets a thick edge to James Anderson's opening delivery, but James Tredwell can only get his fingertips to the ball when diving to his right at second slip. That would have been a hell of a catch.

England Innings

5:40pm - END OF INNINGS - Eng 169 all out - The innings comes to a premature end as Mills has Stuart Broad and James Tredwell taken at mid-on and third man respectively. England's last seven wickets went down for 28 and the last three all fell on 169.

5:35pm - WICKET! Bresnan run out (Franklin) 3; Eng 169/8 - A direct hit from Franklin, who had initially fumbled in the deep, accounts for Tim Bresnan at the end of the penultimate over.

5:33pm - WICKET! Bopara c Williamson b McClenaghan 9; Eng 166/7 - Bopara survives an ambitious review by New Zealand, who thought he had edged behind, only to pop up a catch to cover next ball. This is not quite the finish England were looking for.

5:25pm - WICKET! Buttler c N McCullum b Mills 14; Eng 159/6 - Mills marks his return to the attack with a long hop that Buttler pulls around the corner for four. The seamer then oversteps and Bopara smears the resulting free hit to deep cover, where Doug Bracewell takes a meaningless catch. From the next delivery, Buttler aims a cross-batted heave at Mills but fails to clear long-off.

5:20pm - Vettori finishes with figures of 5-0-27-1, a fine effort in the circumstances. Buttler then thrashes McClenaghan through extra-cover for four and England are 152 for five with three overs remaining.

5:13pm - WICKET! Morgan lbw Vettori 15; Eng 143/5 - Vettori hampers England, conceding just one from three deliveries before trapping Morgan lbw on the sweep. Ravi Bopara comes out to join Jos Buttler.

5:08pm - WICKET! Cook c & b N McCullum 64; Eng 141/4 - Morgan finds the River Taff with a monstrous blow before Nathan McCullum makes belated amends for his earlier mistakes by holding a return chance offered up by Cook.

5:05pm - Cook, the beneficiary of all three drops by Nathan McCullum, picks up his second six, off Williamson, with a lusty blow over long-off. Another boundary follows in the same region and this is developing into a potentially useful score. With six overs to come, England have 133.

4:59pm - MISSED CHANCE & FIFTY! Cook (39b 3x4 1x6) - Back-to-back wides from McClenaghan give England a lift before Morgan gets off the mark with a single to mid-on. Nathan McCullum then spills his third chance of the day ...and this is one you would back yourself to take when riding blindfolded on horseback! Cook cuts tamely to backward point off Kane Williamson, only to see a real sitter put down. The captain subsequently moves to 50.

4:49pm - WICKET! Root c Ronchi b McClenaghan 38; Eng 100/3 - The return of McClenaghan leads to a wicket as Root top-edges a pull to provide wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi with a simple catch. Here comes Eoin Morgan.

4:45pm - MISSED CHANCE - Now Cook helps himself to a maximum, down the ground off James Franklin. The skipper then gets down on one knee to play a lap-sweep over short fine-leg. He enjoyed that one! Cook gets a let-off at the end of the over when Nathan McCullum, leaping into the air at midwicket, fails to take another chance.

4:38pm - REVIEW - Vettori wins an lbw decision against Root, but the decision is overturned on review when replays show the batsman got a thin edge on to pad when sweeping. The fifty partnership arrives moments later.

4:34pm - This is more like it! Vettori, who has changed ends, drops short and Root pulls powerfully for the first six of the match. A confident cover-drive off McCullum earns the Yorkshireman three more and Cook then lofts the next ball over mid-on to collect four.

4:27pm - There is plenty of intent being shown by England’s batsmen, but runs are not coming as freely as the hosts would like. At the end of the ninth over, bowled by Nathan McCullum, 55 runs are on the board.

4:22pm - MISSED CHANCE - Nathan McCullum cannot hold on this time when Cook pulls James Franklin’s first delivery to short midwicket. 

4:19pm - Root is struggling for fluency at the start of his innings and gets away with edges either side of gully in a Mills over yielding just four. The wily figure of Daniel Vettori replaces Anderson and England continue to deal solely in singles.

4:11pm - Joe Root edges Mills just wide of Ross Taylor at slip to claim four. New Zealand ODI debutant Corey Anderson is then introduced and sees his first ball driven through cover for three by Cook. The left-arm seamer responds well and England end the mandatory five-over powerplay on 33 for two. It has not been easy for the batsmen to time the ball thus far.

4:02pm - WICKET! Trott c N McCullum b Mills 8; Eng 25/2 - But now Trott is gone, caught at midwicket by the elder McCullum brother.

4:01pm - Jonathan Trott comes in at three and gets off the mark immediately with a square-drive for two. The Warwickshire batsman then punches down the ground for four, before taking two more to third man.

3:56pm - WICKET! Bell c B McCullum b McClenaghan 10; Eng 16/1 - What a catch this is! Brendon McCullum shows exceptional reflexes to take the sharpest of chances at short cover after Bell had cracked one away off the back foot.

3:54pm - MISSED CHANCE - After mis-timing a couple of aggressive strokes, Ian Bell connects sweetly with a cut through the covers to pick up four off Kyle Mills. The next ball is sent skywards, but James Franklin spills a tricky chance over his shoulder when running back from mid-off.

3:49pm - The mandatory powerplays in this match will span just five overs. Mitchell McClenaghan initially keeps a lid on things before conceding a four through fine-leg to Alastair Cook from the final ball of his opening set of six.

Pre-Play News

3:42pm - No changes at the top of England's order. Here come Alastair Cook and Ian Bell to get the innings started.

3:28pm - Although a significant number of overs have been lost, neither team is allowed to alter their starting line-up, with a toss having already taken place this morning. England could well make alterations to their batting order, however. We shall see.

3:24pm - Our scheduled finish time is now 7:16pm and the interval has been reduced to 10 minutes.

3:14pm - The plan is for play to start at 3:45pm, with each side batting for 24 overs. We will, of course, require the rain to stay away.

2:53pm - We could yet see some cricket! Most of the covers are being removed and we will have the umpires out for an inspection at 3:10pm.

2:40pm - The latest radar is a little more encouraging and it looks as though the rain may have stopped out in the middle. The groundstaff are beavering away in an attempt to get things ready. Remember, we cannot start any later than 4:17pm.

2:34pm - While we wait to see if any play will be possible - and things have cleared up a touch for the time being - here's a summary of how things will stand should this match be washed out:

If there is no play today, Sri Lanka can progress at England's expense by recording victory over Australia at The Oval tomorrow.

A no-result or tie in that game would enable England to hold on to second place, while Australia can only go through if they win and significantly improve their net run-rate in the process.

1:56pm - Here comes another heavier shower. A washout appears increasingly likely.

1:30pm - The optimists among you can take solace in the fact we now have very light drizzle once again. If the rain does stop, it will probably take at least an hour or so to get the ground fit for play.

12:56pm - The rain continues to fall, which means there is still no news on a potential inspection or start time.

12:04pm - Still no sign of any play. A journalist, local to this part of the world, has just muttered "I can't see us getting on today". We can only hope he is wrong. If we have not started by 4:17pm, then we won't be starting at all.

11:30am - I wish I could bring you more positive news, but the precipitation has actually increased in intensity. This could be a very frustrating day.

10:52am - So much for that improved forecast then! It is still raining steadily.

10:30am - Sadly, play will not start on time. The players have gone back inside now and extra covers are being rolled out.

10:24am - The teams have emerged for the national anthems, so play could yet start on time.

10:19am - I am afraid to say the covers have been brought on here, as light drizzle is falling. Hopefully it passes swiftly.

10:13am - Swann's absence is due to a calf injury. Here are the two teams in full:

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Tredwell, James Anderson.

New Zealand: Luke Ronchi (wicketkeeper), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum (captain), Daniel Vettori, Nathan McCullum, Corey Anderson, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan.

10:01am - NEW ZEALAND WIN THE TOSS AND BOWL - Brendon McCullum chooses to insert England, who have James Tredwell playing in place of Graeme Swann. Corey Anderson, today added to New Zealand's squad as a replacement for the injured Grant Elliott, makes his debut for the Black Caps, with Tim Southee unavailable.

9:55am - For those of you unaware, a victory today would guarantee England a place in the semi-finals. A no-result or tie would would leave their fate undecided, while defeat would spell the end of the road for Alastair Cook's men. We will have news from the toss shortly.

9:45am - Good morning from the Cardiff Wales Stadium. England's final group game in the Champions Trophy - against New Zealand - is scheduled to begin in 45 minutes and ecb.co.uk is delighted to report that the weather forecast in Cardiff has improved! Let's hope it stays dry so we can get a full game in today.

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