With two matches left in Group A at the ICC Champions Trophy, England have confirmed a spot in the semi-finals while the other spot is still up for grabs with the other three teams in contention.
With four points from two matches, the hosts have also assured themselves of finishing in first position. While Australia can also finish the group stages with four points, they cannot overtake England as the team from Down Under will have lesser wins what come may.
If two teams are equal on points, the first factor used to separate the sides is the number of wins. If that is also the same, then net run-rate is considered.
For Australia, the scenario is simple: beat England and they are through to the last four. Having seen both their games so far abandoned due to rain, Steve Smith’s side now have two points. A win against England will take them to four points and it’ll be impossible for New Zealand or Bangladesh to catch up.
For New Zealand (currently on one point), they need to get the better of Bangladesh and hope that England do them a favour in the other match by defeating Australia or the match between the Ashes rivals is washed out.
Bangladesh, also on one point, are in a similar situation, with them needing a win against New Zealand and requiring Australia not to beat England.
The Tigers have a slight advantage over the Blackcaps, as with a higher net run-rate, a no result in case of rain could still see them qualify, provided England beat Australia by a sizeable margin.
Here, we look at the various scenarios.
|New Zealand vs Bangladesh||England vs Australia||Who goes through|
|New Zealand win||England win||1) England, 2) New Zealand|
|New Zealand win||Australia win||1) England, 2) Australia|
|New Zealand win||No Result||1) England, 2) New Zealand|
|No Result||England win||1) England, 2) Australia/Bangladesh (depends on net run-rate)|
|No Result||Australia win||1) England, 2) Australia|
|No Result||No Result||1) England, 2) Australia|
|Bangladesh win||England win||1) England, 2) Bangladesh|
|Bangladesh win||Australia win||1) England, 2) Australia|
|Bangladesh win||No Result||1) England, 2) Bangladesh|
Jos Buttler was feted for his performance as England racked up yet another 300-plus score on Tuesday, but all the confetti should be saved for the bowlers.
For once it was not a case of who leaks the least – the repaired Mark Wood, the redeemed Jake Ball and the recalled Adil Rashid all kept their economy rates below five runs per over. The focus deserves to be on those three.
Encouragingly England are learning from their mistakes. They were wrong to drop Rashid ahead of their competition opener with Bangladesh but captain Eoin Morgan trusted his man, despite all the noise about Sophia Gardens’ batsmen-friendly boundaries.
If a spinner is tight and accurate it does not matter whether the boundaries are eight metres away or 80. Rashid produced 28 dot balls, did not concede a maximum, and flummoxed Neil Broom in the middle-order to take a key wicket.
The seamers also deserve their due – indeed, they were the beneficiary of some dew. In wind-swept Cardiff, England managed to extract variable bounce that rattled Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor as both took shots to the helmet.
Williamson, the warrior that he is, battled on until the devils in the wicket got the better of him and he gloved to Jos Buttler off a beauty from Wood.
Wood’s express pace has earned him comparisons with Simon Jones, a 2005 Ashes hero and a Welshman who often let loose for Glamorgan at the same ground. But other, less flattering similarities have been easy to make over the last 18 months.
Jones’ England career was cut short by an ankle injury and Wood has already had three operations in an effort to fully repair one of his own.
The Durham fast bowler has not appeared in a Test since October 2015 but his dismissal of Williamson, in his ninth one-day match for either club or country in just over a month, felt like a line had finally been drawn.
And what of Ball, toyed with by a mediocre Bangladesh attack and under grave threat for his place from the vastly experienced Steven Finn.
His back-to-back maidens to start the match were some retort and the chink in England’s armour suddenly looked as if it had been reinforced by titanium.
There was more life in a slightly greased pitch but the 26-year-old will walk out against the Aussies at Edgbaston with his chest puffed out and rightly so.
There it is then, three question marks over three bowlers that were all emphatically answered in Wales. There will be a day – probably in this tournament – that at least one of those three will be off-key again but the support cast is there. Added to Liam Plunkett, wicket-taker-in-chief, and a game-breaker in Ben Stokes, and this unit is a nasty one.
The woes of Jason Roy at the top of the batting order is the only Achilles heel for England left to tackle but Morgan is nothing if not devoted to his squad.
For now, Roy is being propped up by the shoulders of his team-mates and that is no bad thing. Trust is what has got England this far after all.
New Zealand were in the contest for a bit before fizzling out towards the end as they suffered an 87-run defeat against England in the ICC Champions Trophy on Tuesday.
With this victory, England have qualified for the semi-finals while New Zealand will have to hope for favourable results in the two remaining Group A matches (New Zealand vs Bangladesh and England vs Australia).
Here, we look at three important moments from the match.
It was clear after the 30-over mark that only one man stood between England and victory — Kane Williamson. New Zealand were 156 for two with Williamson on 85 and threatening to take the game away from the hosts.
But that’s when fast bowler Mark Wood delivered the killer blow by claiming Williamson for 87 with a cross seam delivery that rose unexpectedly to kiss the batsman’s glove on the way to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s hands.
The Kiwi resistance didn’t last long after that as the rest of the side packed up for the addition of just 65 runs.
Liam Plunkett proved his worth with the bat with a 10-ball 15 that may not look big on the scoreboard but had a lot of value overall.
He came in with England in a spot of bother at 260-7 but showed brute power to smash a big six off Adam Milne over deep backward square leg.
More importantly, he was involved in a 49-run partnership in just five overs with Jos Buttler that was crucial in helping England cross the 300-mark.
England were motoring well heading into the final Powerplay with Moeen Ali settling in nicely. The left-handed batsman had already hit 12 runs from 11 balls and was looking good for a few more when a Trent Boult special ended his innings.
Ali’s attempt to pull Corey Anderson ended in a flying Boult catch at short fine leg.
The pace ace also provided the finishing touch to the England innings by running in from square leg and diving full length to take a catch to dismiss Jake Ball off a short delivery from Tim Southee.