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New Zealand enter maiden final of Twenty20 World Cup

New Zealand entered their maiden Twenty20 World Cup after brushing aside England by five wickets in the semi-finals in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Wednesday.

A career best score from Daryl Mitchell helped New Zealand avenged their 2019 50-over World Cup final loss. The loss meant England failed to make their third appearance in the global showpiece of the game’s shortest version.

England’s top and middle order guided them to a challenging 166-4 in 20 overs. The Englishmen had seized the early initiative reducing Kiwis to 13-2 after Chris Woakes had removed opener Martin Guptill (four) and skipper Kane Williamson (five) in his first two overs.

Mitchell, into his 21st Twenty20 International, not only bailed out his side from the trouble but also took them to a maiden final of the Twenty20 World Cup. He shared a crucial 82-run third wicket partnership with Devon Conway to resurrect the innings.

England hit back with quick wickets of Conway and Glenn Philips (two), courtesy Liam Livingstone, but Mitchell was involved in a defining 42-run partnership with James Neesham (26) to take the game away from England.

England did get rid of Neesham by the end of 18th over with New Zealand needing 20 from the last 12. Any chance of England comeback evaporate when Mitchell struck Woakes for two consecutive sixes after getting a couple in the first ball. The game ended itself in Woakes’ over with Mitchell hitting the winning boundary.

Mitchell hit four sixes and as many boundaries to remain unbeaten on 73 from 48 balls. Conway chipped in 46 from 38, his innings including five fours and a six.

Earlier, Jos Buttler (29) did the majority of scoring in his 37-run opening wicket stand with Jonny Bairstow (13). New Zealand removed both openers before Moeen Ali and Dawid Malan repaired the damage with 63-run partnership.

Malan made 41 off 30 with four boundaries and a six. Ali took the team beyond 160 hitting a 37-ball 51. Ali struck three fours and two sixes, while Livingstone made 10-ball 17.   

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