England stumbles after fast start, posts 305-8 v New Zealand
CHESTER-LE-STREET, England (AP) — England stumbled after a blazing start by in-form openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy to post 305-8 against New Zealand in their high-stakes match at the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
Bairstow scored 106 for his second straight century and Roy swatted a 61-ball 60, setting up England for a shot at a massive total under sunny skies at Chester-le-Street in a match the team must win to guarantee a place in the semifinals.
But from 194-1, England lost Joe Root (24), Bairstow and Jos Buttler (11) in a 19-ball spell to slump to 214-4, and the boundaries began to dry up.
Eoin Morgan's 42 off 40 balls helped to inch his team past 300, but New Zealand was back in the contest at the packed Riverside Ground. Jimmy Neesham had the tightest bowling figures of 2-41 off his 10 overs.
New Zealand will qualify for the semifinals with a win, and simply avoiding a big loss should be enough to ensure the Black Caps cannot be shunted from the semifinal lineup by fifth-placed Pakistan.
Such was England's flying start that the only respite for New Zealand came when play was briefly delayed while two Black Caps players searched for the ball in the pitchside covers after Roy's top-edge for four.
Roy passed 50 for the fourth time in five innings in this World Cup when he chipped a regulation delivery by Neesham to mid-off. He slammed his bat to the ground in anger, ending his latest explosive opening stand with Bairstow at 123.
Bairstow was imperious at times — he held the pose after one straight drive for four — and brought up his ninth ODI hundred with a six down the ground, and flicked a full toss for the 14th of his 15 boundaries.
England made only 111-7 in its last 20 overs as New Zealand's bowlers found their accuracy.
The Black Caps, who have won five straight against England at World Cups, need to go at 6.10 runs an over to chase down the target.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80