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All down to this one for Kiwis

England and New Zealand want to maintain run-rich form when they clash today at the Wanderers in the final Group B fixture of the ICC Champions Trophy.SPECIAL COVERAGE| Listen to podcastaudio

cricket Updated: Sep 29, 2009 01:04 IST

England and New Zealand want to maintain run-rich form when they clash on Tuesday at the Wanderers in the final Group B fixture of the ICC Champions Trophy.

Dismissed with the West Indies as tournament no-hopers, England made 323-8 against hosts South Africa on Sunday to become the first qualifiers for the semifinals.

It was the highest tally so far in the one-day extravaganza, eclipsing the 319 made by Sri Lanka in the opening match en route to a surprise victory over South Africa.

“That batting performance was the best I can remember from England. Owais (Shah) took control, clearing the boundary so many times, well backed up by Paul (Collingwood) and Eoin (Morgan),” boasted skipper Andrew Strauss.

“We can play the shots because of skills practice. The only problem sometimes is our mindset, whether we loosen the shackles and go out there and take the game to the opposition.”

Shah, 98-run catalyst of the second highest Champions Trophy innings after the 347 posted by New Zealand against the United States at The Oval five years ago, echoed South Africa-born Strauss.

“The Australia series was not good for our batsmen. Coming to South Africa our confidence was low. We needed to go out, play with freedom and express ourselves.”

New Zealand also smashed the 300-run barrier Sunday against Sri Lanka, amassing 315-7 to win by 38 runs. Another victory against England will take them into the knockout phase of the four-million-dollar tournament.

However, if the ‘Black Caps’ lose at the 30,000-capacity home of South Africa cricket, hyper-erratic Sri Lanka will cling to second spot on net run rate and squeeze through.