Champions Trophy 2013: McCullum praises England’s bowlers
Champions Trophy 2013: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum admits England's bowlers played "outstandingly well"
Brendon McCullum praised England’s bowlers after the hosts defied the rain to book their place in the Champions Trophy semi-finals with a narrow win at Cardiff.
New Zealand fell 10 runs short of the Duckworth/Lewis altered target of 170 set by England, making just 159-8 in their allotted 24 overs.
And the loss of early wickets, with openers Martin Guptil and Luke Ronchi dismissed for a combined 12 runs, contributed to their defeat.
The Black Caps’ middle order offered the team a glimmer of hope, with Kane Williamson (67) and the unorthodox Corey Anderson (30) making life uncomfortable for the tournament hosts.
And captain McCullum was full of praise for the pair, as well as the England attack.
“England bowled outstandingly well at the start of our innings and set us back,” said McCullum. “Kane and Corey gave us a real opportunity but we fell short in the end.
“We did drop some catches but Nathan is usually a good catcher so it is one of those things.”
With England’s win sending them through to the semi-finals, New Zealand sit precariously in second place in the group, just one point in front of Sri Lanka, who face Australia tomorrow.
And with New Zealand’s fate out of their hands, McCullum is aware that his team need a big favour from their bitter rivals Australia.
“We’ll be supporting Australia now, which is not something that we normally like to do.”