Despite a late English surge, New Zealand overcame England by four wickets on a juicy Wanderers track to top Group `B' and enter the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy.
The Kiwis, pursuing 147, needed to reach the target in 44.3 overs to finish ahead of England on run-rate. They were home in the 28th over here on Tuesday.
Powered by openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill, New Zealand was coasting at one stage before the English pacemen fought back. James Anderson seamed one away from Martin Guptill (53, 55b, 7x4, 1x6) for Greame Swann to snaffle up the edge at slip. Moments later Swann held an even better catch in the cordon as Ross Taylor nicked a delivery leaving him from Stuart Broad. And Grant Elliott could not get out of the way of a wickedly climbing delivery from Broad that kissed his gloves. Broad, hitting the deck hard, was extracting disconcerting bounce.
Gareth Hopkins too departed early; a brute of a short ball brushed his gloves on way to 'keeper Eoin Morgan Broad had scalped four and the Kiwis were 130 for five. Niel Broom (17) struck some useful blows before being consumed by Ryan Sidebottom.
Skipper Daniel Vettori and James Franklin guided New Zealand home surviving some tense final moments. Elliott was adjudged Man of the Match for his four-wicket haul.
New Zealand had the rub of the green early on though. Anderson was unlucky not to consume Guptill; the opener edged the paceman more than once. Gradually, Guptill opened out with a few pleasing off-drives.
At the other end, McCullum cut loose. He gave Sidebottom the charge to send the ball soaring over the point fence; in a deliberate ploy, McCullum was disrupting the length of the English pacemen.
McCullum also fed on width. The right-hander's upper-cut off Anderson cleared the point boundary. When Broad dropped one short, he top-edged a hook for the maximum.
Before he was held at cover off cover off Broad for a rollicking 48 (39b, 4x4, 3x6) McCullum had put the Kiwis on course. The opening pair had whipped up 84 in only 12.3 overs.
Guptill continued to inflict damage. He walked down to Paul Collingwood for a sweetly-struck straight six. And he slammed Broad over his head to reach an entertaining half-century.
Earlier, the New Zealand pacemen were on the button from the word go after Vettori won the toss. The conditions were ideal for the pacemen under a cloud-cover. The slippery Kyle Mills struck in the first over with a mean delivery that took off from short of a good lenth and moved away from the left-handed Andrew Strauss to find the edge.
There was deviation off the seam for the pacemen. And the odd ball tend to shoot through. His mind and body in harmony, thundered in, Shane Bond got the ball to jag back at the right-handed Joe Denly to rattle the timber. The Kiwi spearhead was getting the ball to dart around. He made further inroads.
The in-form Owais Shah attempted to whip a full length delivery outside the off-stump and 'keeper McCullum pouched the edge. Collingwood, an old-fashioned fighter, was defiant. He pulled Bond for a six over square-leg when the paceman pitched one short.
England was 23 for three after the first block of Power Play overs.
There was plenty of drama on the field as well. Collingwood left the over's final delivery - outside the off-stump - off Kyle Mills alone and set out for some gardening. In the meantime, McCullum threw down the stumps at the striker's end. The third umpire ruled Collingwood out after a Kiwi appeal but then umpire Darryl Harper had seemingly shouted `over' soon after the delivery passed Collingwood.
The on-field umpires, Vettori and Collingwood were involved in a discussion before Vettori withdrew the appeal.
Collingwood and the left-handed Morgan staged a recovery of sorts. Mogan struggled to find his timing but Collingwood, ready with his horizontal bat strokes, punished left-arm paceman Franklin.
Ian Butler, working up some pace and extracting bounce, consumed Morgan on the cut with a lifting delivery outside the off-stump. 'Keeper McCullum could not pouch the edge cleanly and Taylor displayed superb reflexes at first slip to complete the catch.
The brave Collingwood continued to defy the Kiwi attack; Franklin was pulled for the maximum again. But then, a batsman's strength can prove his undoing. Collingwood (40,
58b, 2x4, 3x6) launched into yet another pull - picking the delivery from out-side off - against support seamer Elliott and Taylor leapt to pluck a fine one-handed catch at mid-wicket.
The England innings disintegrated quickly. Elliott, revelling in the conditions, taking the ball away in the corridor. And he surprised the batsmen with steep lift. Before long, he had scapled four.
Bond returned to trap a battling Ravi Bopara (30) leg-before with a good length delivery that kept low. A tenacious last-wicket stand between Sidebottom and Anderson took the total close to 150.