England defeat New Zealand by 20 runs in Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup in Brisbane

England has kept its T20 World Cup hopes alive with a tense, 20-run victory over New Zealand at the Gabba.

Skipper Jos Buttler scored a sensational 73, having been twice dropped — on 8 and on 40 — as England made 6-179.

Glenn Phillips’ magnificent 62 off 36 balls kept New Zealand in the chase until the final four overs.

However, when he fell to the excellent Sam Curran, New Zealand’s hopes evaporated.

The result means everything rests on the final round of matches in group one, with England second, behind New Zealand and ahead of Australia on net run rate.

When England woke up this morning to persistent rain and leaden skies, there must have been fears of another washout, which would have been almost terminal for their chances of progression.

However, the clouds spent themselves by mid-afternoon and the perfect playing conditions ended up drawing a healthy crowd of 22,547 people to the Gabba, 4,000 more than Monday’s match between Australia and Ireland.

They were not to be disappointed either, witnessing a thrilling tussle between two high-quality teams. 

After losing the toss and being asked to field, New Zealand almost got off to a perfect start when Buttler appeared to be caught off Mitchell Santner in the sixth over after a stunning diving effort from Kane Williamson at cover.

Buttler started walking off but replays showed that the Black Caps skipper had let the ball slip through his hands.

Kane Williamson dives with his hands cradled in his chest face down on the floor with his legs in the air
The ball is under there, but it had hit the ground first.(Getty Images: ICC/Chris Hyde)

With Buttler on eight from eight balls at the time and he made New Zealand pay with a well-crafted 73, hitting his first six with an audacious ramp shot to a Lockie Ferguson ball from outside off to fine leg.

Dropping Buttler once was unfortunate. Dropping him a second time was just careless.

Daryl Mitchell was the guilty party the second time around as Buttler gained a third life for the innings, shelling a simple catch on the mid-wicket boundary when he was on 40 off Ferguson.

Jos Buttler plays a reverse sweep
Jos Buttler’s half century helped propel England to a decent score.(Getty Images: Bradley Kanaris)

Meanwhile, Alex Hales was steadily compiling runs up the other end before he was stumped off Santner for 52 off 40, with Moeen Ali (5), promoted to number three to deal with the spinners, falling shortly after.

Buttler continued to grow into his innings, hitting some sumptuous boundaries off Ferguson (2-45) and Boult (0-40), before dispatching the latter over the sightscreen with a shot that would have not looked out of place in the World Series.

Jos Buttler hits a shot with a bat parallel to the ground
Jos Buttler auditioned for the Houston Astros during his innings.(Getty Images: Bradley Kanaris)

Liam Livingstone’s 14-ball cameo ended when he was clean bowled by Ferguson for 20, and Harry Brook (7) came and went in just three balls before being caught by Finn Allen off Tim Southee.

England rode their luck at times as skyed balls fell safe and excellent balls flew past the stumps, but even accounting for the two dropped catches, New Zealand were slightly off in the field.

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