LONDON: Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow got England off to a flying start in their crunch World Cup match against New Zealand at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday.
In a match where victory for either side would see them into the semi-finals, England were 67-0 off 10 overs after home captain Eoin Morgan won the toss.
Roy was 26 not out and Bairstow unbeaten on 32.
The pair were carrying on from where they left off in England’s 31-run win over India at Edgbaston on Sunday, when they shared a stand of 160, with Bairstow scoring 111 and Roy, returning from a torn hamstring, 66.
Wednesday’s stand was the 17th time in 31 one-day internationals that Roy and Bairstow had shared a fifty partnership as openers.
Roy, however, was nearly out to the first ball of the match when he had a wild swing at left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner. The ball just missed the stumps and went past wicketkeeper Tom Latham for four byes.
But the fourth ball of the over saw Roy cover-drive Santner for four.
Santner’s spell lasted just the one over, with New Zealand captain Kane Williamson bringing on Tim Southee at the Lumley Castle End.
Southee was playing for the first time at this World Cup after New Zealand suffered the setback of losing fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, their leading wicket-taker at the tournament, with a hamstring injury.
Bairstow hit two fours in successive balls off Southee, a cover-drive followed by a square-drive.
And the fifth over saw him hit three fours in a row — a clip through midwicket, a lofted cover drive and a thumping pull off Southee.
An England defeat would see them knocked out if Pakistan beat Bangladesh at Lord’s on Friday.
But if New Zealand — like England looking to win the World Cup for the first time – lose, they should still go through to the last four on net run-rate.