'Can't believe it': Cricket world stunned by 'insane' World Cup drama

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Daryl Mitchell, pictured here hitting New Zealand to victory over England.
Daryl Mitchell hit New Zealand to victory over England. Image: Getty

New Zealand have stunned the cricket world and gained sweet revenge after knocking England out of the T20 World Cup in a blockbuster semi-final.

New Zealand once again upset the odds on Wednesday night, powering past England by five wickets and setting themselves up for a shot at a second global title of the year.

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The World Test champions once again remained icy cool under pressure in the furnace of the short format chase in Abu Dhabi, just as the chance to meet either Australia or Pakistan in Sunday's final seemed to have slipped away with four overs left.

Needing 57 runs to win off the last 24 balls, the Black Caps found a new hero in unsung opener Daryl Mitchell, who produced an unbeaten 72 off 47 balls as the wheels came off for the favourites.

Watched by his father, former All Blacks rugby coach John Mitchell, the 30-year-old had earlier suffered some real struggles on a pitch that seemed a bit sluggish and two-paced as he tried to lead the pursuit of England's challenging 4-166.

Yet the key came when he found an uninhibited partner in Jimmy Neesham, who launched a blistering attack in a nervy and ultimately calamitous 17th over from Chris Jordan. 

The England paceman got his length all wrong, dished up two wides and got plundered for 23.

By the time Neesham fell to Adil Rashid the next over, Mitchell had taken control, depositing a six off the leg-spinner before then taking 19 of the 20 runs off Chris Woakes' next over to blitz New Zealand to their target, remarkably with an over still to spare.

Daryl Mitchell, pictured here after New Zealand's victory over England.
Daryl Mitchell reacts after New Zealand's victory over England. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

It put Kane Williamson's side firmly in line to add the T20 World Cup crown to the inaugural Test Championship trophy they seized in June.

The victory also vanquished the ghost of their agonising super-over defeat to England in the 50-over World Cup final in 2019.

"I knew it was going to be a great game of cricket and that proved to be the case," said Williamson.

"It ebbed and flowed, as they often do when we go against each other, but I'm really chuffed with the heart shown through the performance."

Fans and commentators flocked to social media in disbelief over the result.

New Zealand storm into T20 World Cup final

Australia will take on Pakistan in Thursday's second semi-final in Dubai, hoping for another World Cup final meeting with their trans-Tasman rivals following their 2015 triumph in Melbourne in the 50-over edition.

It was the first tournament clash between England and New Zealand since that Lord's 2019 World Cup thriller, and it had all looked to be going the way of Eoin Morgan's side until Neesham's game-changing effort which featured him clubbing three sixes in his 27 off 11 balls.

Suitably inspired, Mitchell also found his timing to hammer four fours and four sixes in all in a knock which earned him the player of the match award.

"I guess with what's going on in the world at the moment, to be able to travel half way round and for (my parents) to be here is pretty cool," he said.

New Zealand players, pictured here celebrating while England look dejected.
The ecstasy and agony of the T20 World Cup. Image: Getty

Earlier, Moeen Ali struck 51 not out and Dawid Malan 41 to earn former champions England a decent total at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Put in to bat, England's rejigged opening combination, having lost Jason Roy to a calf injury, didn't really ignite as Jonny Bairstow made 18 and Ish Sodhi struck a body blow by trapping Jos Buttler, England's leading scorer in the tournament, lbw for 29.

Woakes wrecked New Zealand's top order, removing key men Martin Guptill and Williamson in successive overs to put the Black Caps on the back foot.

But Mitchell and Devon Conway (46 off 38) rebuilt the innings with England still in charge until Neesham's late attack and Mitchell's fine finish.

with AAP

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