England scrambled to a three-wicket win over New Zealand to complete a perfect ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight record ? and almost certainly avoid Australia in their semi-final too. England needed to reach 120 in reply to the Kiwis' 149 for six in Monday's final Group E match at Beausejour Stadium, to remain top of the table on run rate. But on the back of an important stand of 52 between Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright, they did the job properly to ensure they can welcome the absent Kevin Pietersen back from his fatherly duties in London ? where his baby son was born on Monday ? with the lure of a chance to reach his first final in a world event.
New Zealand, meanwhile, paid for missing their opportunity and were edged out for a place in the last four on run rate by Pakistan ? who, like South Africa, also managed just one Super Eight victory to England's three. From the moment Craig Kieswetter got England's run chase off to a flying start with a straight six and a four in Nathan McCullum's first over, they were almost always on course to book a semi-final back at this ground on Thursday ? against the runners-up in Group F. Kieswetter was gone by the end of the third over, slicing a catch to point off Kyle Mills.
Pietersen's understudy Ravi Bopara failed to beat the off-side ring and was caught at cover when he tried to muscle Scott Styris' lack of pace for a boundary, and Michael Lumb went lbw sweeping at Daniel Vettori on the same score in the next over. Styris' skills were ideally suited to this stop-start surface, and Paul Collingwood soon fell victim too when he chipped a catch to midwicket ? the third of three wickets in three overs for six runs. That wobble to 66 for four swung the contest back in the New Zealanders favour, only for Morgan to once again demonstrate his big-game temperament.
Wright eventually hooked a slower Shane Bond bouncer to be caught at deep backward-square. But Morgan stayed put almost until the end, leaving Tim Bresnan to finish the job after he was athletically caught by Vettori off a mis-pull at Bond. England got home with five balls to spare. * PA