England eye Australia after making short work of New Zealand
England live up to their billing as Champions Trophy favourites as they qualify for semi-finals with routine victory in Cardiff
England's cricketers remain on course for success in the Champions Trophy after they thrashed New Zealand by 87 runs in Cardiff on Tuesday and captain Eoin Morgan then promised more of the same on Saturday against Australia.
The handsome win over the Kiwis means England are already through to the semi-finals of the tournament but they have the chance to knock out the Aussies when the two sides clash at Edgbaston in their Group A match.
"If we're going to be contenders we need to beat the best, and Australia are one of the best," said Morgan. "So to go into a game like that with no other attitude than winning is very important to us."
In a cold and blustery Cardiff, England posted a decent total of 310 against New Zealand, with Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales all making half-centuries.
Although New Zealand's reply began with the first over dismissal of Luke Ronchi, the Kiwis recovered to reach 158-2 before a dramatic collapse saw them lose their last eight wickets for just 65 runs as they were skittled out for 223.
Only Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson posted a decent score but his 87 was the one positive in a batting display undone by Liam Plunkett's figures of 4 for 55.
Although pleased with England's bowling performance - with all five bowlers taking wickets - Morgan was less satisfied with the batting. "We batted OK," he said. "We weren't that pleased at halfway and thought we were maybe 20 or 30 short of par. The guys did the right things, but it doesn't always work. But, when you post over 300 you're always in with a shout."
New Zealand's chances of reaching the semi-final are now out of their own hands following Tuesday's defeat and their rain-abandoned fixture against Australia. The Kiwis must beat Bangladesh on Friday and hope England defeat the Aussies 24 hours later if they're to progress.