In-form England to discover semi opponents

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The Independent Online

England will discover for sure today whether they have avoided Australia in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals - but can be confident they have done all within their power to do so.

Eoin Morgan and man of the match Tim Bresnan were to the fore yesterday as Paul Collingwood's team transported their Barbados form to St Lucia to claim a three-wicket success against New Zealand and complete their Super Eight programme as unbeaten group winners.

The portents are uniformly good for England, with Kevin Pietersen due back tomorrow in time for Thursday's semi-final following the birth of his son in London yesterday.

That match will be against the runners-up in Group F, with Australia looking certain to top the group even if they lose to West Indies today.

Collingwood, however, is untroubled by who makes up the opposition or when they do it.

"We all know we haven't won an ICC trophy," he said. "In the semis, and if we get through to the final, I won't be bothered who we're playing.

"Winning would be an exceptional effort."

Collingwood's team are shaping up as significant challengers for the silverware, on behalf of a country with little pedigree in world tournaments despite their stature.

"I'm just absolutely delighted to get through to the semis. Who we play doesn't really matter," Collingwood said.

"All the teams that are in the semis now are very, very strong and we've got to keep this belief and momentum going.

"We've got two games and we could win a World Cup. The confidence is sky high and we're all very excited to be in this position."

Morgan's runs and Bresnan's all-round performance against the Kiwis were fresh examples of England pulling together and contributing collectively, and Collingwood wants more of the same.

"If we want to go all the way it's going to take a team effort," he added. "We'll all have to put our hands up at certain points.

"With Swanny and Broady coming in (to bat), even after Bresy, we've got a really strong line up.

"A special mention has to go to the two guys up front [Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb] too, for the way they're taking the game to the opposition and giving us that real kickstart.

"That really does take the pressure off the middle order."

As for Pietersen's anticipated return after a double dash across the Atlantic, that is simply another reason for England's smiles.

"It's perfect timing in many ways," added Collingwood. "I'm delighted for him. Everybody's healthy so it's fantastic.

"The great thing for the England cricket team is that he's going to be back for the semi-finals."

If beaten Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori is any judge, it may well prove a rewarding trip too.

"To only post 150 put us up against it, and then not being able to break through the Morgan-Wright partnership until late was a real killer for us," he said, coming to terms with New Zealand's unaccustomed early elimination from a tournament.

"They played exceptionally well to get their team over the line in a pressure situation.

"They showed they're a form team, rather than just a one-man team.

"They're playing some really good cricket and in this format, when you get a confident team winning their games they're going to go into the semi-final thinking they can beat anyone."