DURHAM: Jonny Bairstow’s second consecutive century at the Cricket World Cup powered England to 305-8 against New Zealand in their final group game at the Riverside Ground on Wednesday.
The match is crucial for England, with a win securing a semi-final spot but defeat leaving the door open for Pakistan.
After England won the toss and elected to bat, Bairstow smashed 106 off 99 balls and stitched together a 123-run opening stand with Jason Roy (60) before a middle order collapse opened the door for New Zealand.
Kiwi pacer Trent Boult struck twice to remove Jos Buttler and Joe Root, who had an unsuccessful review after he was caught behind trying to pull a bouncer to the fence with the third umpire detecting a very faint edge.
Ben Stokes struggled to get going, getting caught on the boundary for 11 off 27 as he tried to accelerate the innings while Eoin Morgan (42) was dismissed after an acrobatic catch by Mitchell Santner.
Jimmy Neesham (2-41) was the pick of the Kiwi bowlers, getting rid of danger man Roy in his second over, while Matt Henry also chipped in with two wickets.
New Zealand have not qualified for the last four yet but, given their superior run rate, Pakistan would need a freak result against Bangladesh on Friday to leapfrog the Black Caps.