England's Ball 'cherishes' New Zealand haul

Jake Ball (Gallo Images)
Jake Ball (Gallo Images)

Cardiff - Jake Ball said he had enjoyed a day to "cherish" after England's 87-run victory over New Zealand in Cardiff on Tuesday saw the tournament hosts become the first team into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

It took Ball just four deliveries in the first over of New Zealand's reply to bowl Luke Ronchi for a golden duck on his way to a return of two for 31 in eight overs that saw him named man-of-the-match.

New Zealand, chasing 311 to win, were never in the hunt after captain Kane Williamson was caught behind for 87 off fast bowler Mark Wood.

When Liam Plunkett, who took four for 55, ended the match, New Zealand had been dismissed for 223.

Earlier England, sent into bat by Williamson, made 310 all out, thanks mainly to Joe Root's 64 and Jos Buttler's unbeaten 61.

Afterwards, Nottinghamshire paceman Ball told Sky Sports: "It was about trying to put it in the right area and hopefully something will happen."

Just last week, Ball had an expensive return of one for 82 during England's opening eight-wicket Group A win over Bangladesh at the Oval.

But in Cardiff he managed the increasingly rare feat of bowling two maidens in a one-day international.

"I think that's one-day cricket -- you have to be prepared to go round the park now and again and cherish these days when you come off with decent figures," the 26-year-old Ball said.

England have now assured themselves of a return to Cardiff for a June 14 semi-final against the runners-up in Group B, regardless of the result of their final pool match against arch-rivals Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday.

"It's a great feeling -- obviously we've got one more game against the Aussies and it would be nice to beat them and go unbeaten in the group stage," said Ball, the nephew of former England wicket-keeper Bruce French.

England are hoping this tournament will yield a first major one-day international title and skipper Eoin Morgan said there was more to come from his side.

"We're not satisfied with the semis, we feel this group has a lot of potential -- we have a lot of hard work ahead."

New Zealand, who inflicted a humiliating eight-wicket defeat upon England in Wellington during the 2015 World Cup, now need a favour from Morgan's men if they too are to reach the semi-finals.

Following their wash-out when well-placed against Australia, New Zealand need to beet Bangladesh in their last group match and hope England defeat the Aussies.

"They had a number of contributions which allowed them to get what I think was an above-par score," said Williamson.

"England outplayed us in all areas today -- credit to them for the way they went about their business, especially with ball in hand."

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