Resolute England thrill Collingwood
England had to dig a little deeper to retain their winning habit at the ICC World Twenty20 - to the delight of captain Paul Collingwood.
They had five balls and just three wickets in hand as they got the better of New Zealand to complete a perfect Super Eight record, at Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia, and book a semi-final return on Thursday.
Tim Bresnan was named man of the match for his economical bowling and unbeaten 23 from 11 balls to get England over the line, after Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright had shared an important fifth-wicket stand of 52 in pursuit of the Black Caps’ 149 for six.
Collingwood said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the boys today.”
England already knew they were through to the last four before their match began, thanks to Pakistan’s victory over South Africa earlier in the day.
“It could have been very easy to sit back and relax, having got through to the semis,” added Collingwood.
“But we kept drilling into them that momentum in this format is very crucial, as is getting into winning habits.”
Collingwood described England’s confidence as “sky high” following their third successive win - and insisted he does not mind which team England meet in the last four.
It seems highly unlikely it will be Australia, who, as almost certain winners of Group F, are instead set to face Pakistan at the same venue on Friday.
Collingwood added: “It was crucial you keep going and stay in winning ways. There are areas we can improve on, but it was another solid performance.
“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.
“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 today.
“We’ve beaten a side who usually do well in these competitions; we’ve eliminated a very good side.”
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said: “I thought 150 was a competitive total, but maybe 20 below par, and we couldn’t put pressure on them.
“To only post 150 put us up against it, and then not being able to break through the Morgan-Wright partnership until late was a real killer for us.
“We could have bowled better - we needed to take wickets in clumps and we probably took them a little too late.
“They played exceptionally well to get their team over the line in a pressure situation."
"Batting has been our problem, not putting enough runs on the board. We have some talented batsmen, but there were not enough runs today.”
Asked about his thoughts on England’s prospects in the last four, Vettori said: "They showed they’re a form team.
“Any team with momentum has a very good chance, and they’ve won three very good games now.
“They’re playing some really good cricket and in this format, when you get a confident team winning their games, they’re going to go into the semi-final thinking they can beat anyone.”