England Alastair Cook
England skipper Alastair Cook plays a shot through the offside against New Zealand in their ICC Champions Trophy 2013 gameReuters

It is never a great thing when the hosts of a multi-team tournament exit in the early stages. The intensity goes down to a certain extent and a minority, if not a majority, of the crowds lose interest.

However, the ICC Champions Trophy does not have to worry about such a problem with England ensuring a place in the semifinals courtesy a 10-run win over New Zealand in a match which was reduced to just 24 overs a piece due to, what else, rain.

While Edgbaston was dominated by the elements on Saturday in the epic India vs Pakistan match, it was a lot worse in Cardiff as both sides were left wondering if a game would even be possible.

England would have been in serious trouble had the match been rained off, while New Zealand, ironically would have eased to the semifinals having played just one full match.

However, the rain finally decided to relent and the match started at 3.45 p.m. local time (7.15 IST) with the match essentially turned into a T20 game with a few bonus overs added on.

New Zealand were set a target of 170 to win from 24 overs, after England were bowled out for 169, with Alastair Cook (64 in 47) scoring a much-needed half-century.

Kyle Mills (four for 30) and Mitchell McClenaghan (three for 36) were the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis as they gave their batsmen a target, which if you look with T20 glasses, was pretty makeable.

However, to get to the total, you do need a good start and a couple of players at least at the top of the making significant contributions.

It wasn't to be, though, as James Anderson (three for 32) sent the two openers packing with two quickfire wickets in the fourth over.

Kane Williamson played a Cook-like innings for New Zealand, but found absolutely no support, with the likes of Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and James Franklin falling without troubling the scorers too much.

Debutant Corey Anderson (30 in 24 balls) gave New Zealand some hope, combining for 73 runs with Williamson (67, 54, 8x4, 1x6) for the sixth wicket to raise New Zealand's hopes of a win.

Stuart Broad, though, dismissed Williamson in the 22nd over with New Zealand needing 35 runs from 16 balls.

That equation proved to be too steep with New Zealand finishing on 159 for eight in their 24 overs, as England picked up the all-important victory to enter the semifinals.

Earlier, England, who were put into bat, could not afford their previous strategy of holding fort in the beginning and then taking off in the final overs - there just wasn't enough time.

It had to be T20 zone all the way, and both openers - Ian Bell and Alastair Cook - showed intent right from the off.

Bell (10), though, fell quickly enough, with Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum snatching a blinder at short extra cover off McClenaghan.

Jonathan Trott also followed suit soon enough, probably to the detriment of New Zealand considering the batsman is not exactly the quickest of scorers, which brought Joe Root to the crease.

Cook, who was dropped three times by Nathan McCullum, and Root added 75 runs for the third wicket, taking the score to 100 for three in 14.2 overs and giving England that impetus to go nuts in the final ten overs.

There would not be too many runs scored in the final 58 balls, however, as New Zealand, with Mills doing bulk of the damage, kept a pretty tight leash on the English middle-order, with Cook's 47-ball 64 (4x4, 2x6) proving to be vital in the end.

England, who have four points from three matches, will, most likely, finish the group as winners, barring a humongous win for Sri Lanka over Australia in the final group match.

New Zealand, on three points, need Australia to beat Sri Lanka on Monday and then hope the Aussies do not overtake them on nett run rate, to have a chance of making it to the semis.

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