March 30, 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) Opener Jason Roy smashed a quick-fire 78 as England beat New Zealand by seven wickets on Wednesday to reach the final of the World Twenty20 in convincing style.

Roy clobbered 11 fours and two sixes off 44 balls during his maiden T20 half-century, as England scored 159-3 in 17.1 overs after Ben Stokes (3-26) helped restrict New Zealand to 153-8.

England, the champion in 2010, will face the winner of the other semifinal between India and the West Indies in Mumbai on Thursday.

Roy, who had scored 42 against Sri Lanka and 43 against South Africa in earlier matches of the tournament, took the game away from a team that had won all its previous four games by defending totals.

He set the tempo by smashing four fours off the opening over from left-arm pace bowler Corey Anderson and went on to exhibit some fine shots in front and square of the wicket.

Roy lofted and pulled fluently to add 82 in only 8.1 overs for the opening stand with Alex Hales (20) and continued in the same vein as England reached 100-1 in only 10.2 overs.

Roy was bowled by legspinner Ish Sodhi with England needing 44 off 48 deliveries.

Sodhi also trapped Eoin Morgan leg-before wicket off the next delivery but Jos Buttler (32 not out) and Joe Root (27 not out) saw the team through with Buttler sealing the win with a six off spinner Mitchell Santner.

"It was a chance to get off to a great start on a decent wicket," Roy said. "I gave it a crack and it came off. I got a few boundaries early and kept going from there."

Earlier, England's bowlers took charge after the mid overs and strangled New Zealand in the death overs.

Put in to bat, New Zealand had kept a steady pace of runs with Colin Munro smashing three consecutive fours off Liam Plunkett to take the score to the 50-run mark in 5.4 overs while the 100 was reached in 12.2 overs.

Munro boosted the score in the mid overs adding 74 for the second wicket with captain Kane Williamson, who struck a 28-ball 32.

New Zealand lost seven wickets for 62 runs following that partnership, the last 10 overs of the innings yielding only 64 runs in the face of some tight bowling from both the pace bowlers and the spinners.

Anderson (28) could not convert his steady start into a big score and was the biggest of three wickets for Stokes.

"I knew we were probably a touch short," Williamson said. "The 180-mark was realistic and it would have been a closer game. We were beaten by a far better team. We weren't able to stem the flow of runs - it was a fantastic knock by Jason Roy."

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