Hales, Root lead England's march into semi-finals

England became the first team to qualify for the Champions Trophy semifinals with a thumping 87-run victory over New Zealand here Tuesday.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat, England was all out in 49.3 overs in the Group A game after a disappointing final over, which saw only one run.

Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jos Buttler all scored half-centuries, while Liam Plunkett stole the show with the ball, taking four wickets.

Chasing a hard target of 311, New Zealand's three top-order batsmen steered their team to 158 in 31st over but as soon their captain Kane Williamson made an exit after a brilliant knock of 87, the their collapse begun as the team lost the remaining seven wickets for just 65 runs.

Earlier, Buttler's knock which came off just 48 balls with the help of two fours and two sixes provided the just-needed impetus to England's innings to get past the 300-run mark.

Meanwhile, leg-spinner Adil Rashid justified his recall in place of injured all-rounder Chris Woakes with a 10-over return of two for 47.

Buttler, who hopes Saturday s game will be remembered more for its cricket than was the case in 2013 when Australian opener David Warner punched Root in a Birmingham bar, said any match with Australia was always a big occasion no matter what was at stake.

'I thought they did an outstanding job.

Sarfraz hopes Champions Trophy win bring international cricket to Pak
In fact, he got only a single wicket in three matches that he played, giving away 167 runs from 29 overs. Pakistan pace bowler Hassan Ali and rookie opener Fakhar Zaman are among those to make huge gains.

"The ICC have assured us that our safety is their number one priority, and they keep giving us updates daily about what's happening and what their plans are for us", Guptill explained.

England captain Eoin Morgan: "Our batting performance was probably par or below par - so pretty average".

Williamson fell to a ball from Wood that leapt at him from short of a length to take his glove for caught-behind.

"He's performed very, very well for England over a period of time - especially coming back after injury.so certainly he is a strength of their bowling attack".

'England bowled very, very well, ' said Williamson, who was fined 40 per cent and his team 20 per cent of their match fees for a slow over rate in England's innings by the International Cricket Council.

England play their last group match against Australia, which would be a do-or-die match for the Steve Smith-led side, on June 10.

New Zealand were unchanged from the side that played in a frustrating no result washout against Australia in their first group match.

He said: "I certainly think [we have alighted on our best team]".

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