New Zealand's leading wicket-taker Lockie Ferguson has been ruled out of Wednesday's Cricket World Cup clash with England.

The fast bowler, 28, has taken 17 wickets during the group stage, putting him second on the list of the tournament's most successful bowlers, behind Australia's Mitchell Starc.

However, a minor injury meant Ferguson was not considered for selection against England, with the announcement coming less than 90 minutes before play was due to begin at The Riverside.

New Zealand issued a statement on Twitter that read: "Lockie Ferguson has a tight left hamstring and will miss today's match against England as a precaution."

A win for either side secures a place in the semi-finals, while the loser will have to wait on the result of Pakistan's game against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Friday to find out if they will progress.

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor defended "world-class captain" Kane Williamson after criticism of his approach at the Cricket World Cup.

The Black Caps appeared to be serenely on course for the semi-finals after going unbeaten through their first six matches but back-to-back defeats to Pakistan and Australia left their chances in the balance.

India's victory over Bangladesh on Tuesday means New Zealand go into Wednesday's meeting with England with their place in the final four all but guaranteed – only a heavy defeat at The Riverside and a big win for Pakistan over Bangladesh would see them miss out.

New Zealand's dip has led to questions about Williamson's captaincy style. While Taylor acknowledged it differs from his predecessor Brendon McCullum, he has full confidence in the skipper.

"I played under many different captains. Obviously, Brendon was the extreme and Kane has his own unique style as well," said Taylor.

"At the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself and be authentic and more often than not you get the right result.

"I think Kane is a fantastic, world-class batsman and a world-class captain. You don't have to look far, the last couple of matches. There's some pundits out there saying he was a great captain. We lose a couple of games and he is a bad captain. He is still a great captain, leads from the front and the team respect him and I love playing under him.

"I'd love as a team to take a little bit of pressure off him and score some runs and not let him do everything."

Elaborating on the difference between Williamson and McCullum, Taylor added: "Brendon would want to set very attacking fields throughout the whole match and Kane would pick his moments when he wants to attack.

"You can talk to numerous people, depending on who you want to talk to, [about] which is the right way. At the end of the day, if you win cricket [games], it doesn't matter [if you are] attacking or if you are not attacking, winning the game of the cricket is our main objective however you do that."

England captain Eoin Morgan also provided words of support for his Black Caps counterpart.

"Kane is an extremely good leader. I have played with him at [Sunrisers] Hyderabad. In the changing room, he wasn't a captain at the time I was there, but he is an impressive leader," said Morgan.

"The way he goes about his business is extremely admirable. He is a quality, quality cricketer who is extremely humble and open to learning all the time and offers his time to anybody as well."

Virat Kohli hailed Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah as "the best around" after they helped send India into the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.

India booked their last-four place with a 28-run win over Bangladesh on Tuesday, set in motion by Rohit's brilliant 92-ball 104 - his fourth century of the tournament.

A chase of 315 always looked beyond the Tigers, yet Bumrah made absolutely sure with a stunning spell to end the match, collecting wickets from consecutive balls to bowl Bangladesh out for 286.

In the post-match presentation, Kohli took the opportunity to pick out both players for individual praise.

"I have been watching [Rohit] for years now and I have been saying openly, in my opinion, he is the best one-day player around," the captain said.

"When he plays like that, it's a joy to watch. He's having the tournament of his life. We are so, so delighted to see him bat the way he is, because when he plays well, we know we are heading towards a big score.

"That's all we need in the changing room. When he plays like that with so much confidence, all the guys in the changing room get so much confidence watching him play.

"I'm really, really happy for him. He's really going well and hopefully, with three more games to go, he can put two big scores there."

Turning to top-ranked bowler Bumrah, Kohli continued: "Bumrah's overs were always going to be crucial, so that's why we stopped him after four overs initially.

"He is someone you can bank on at any time in the game. He's a world-class bowler, the best in the world at the moment. There's a good reason for that. He's been bowling consistently well."

Tamim Iqbal dropped Rohit early on, but Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza was not ready to acknowledge that moment as a turning point.

"With a batsman like Rohit Sharma in such good form, it obviously affects it," he said. "But that's what happens in cricket. We can't blame it just on that catch."

And Mortaza rued Bangladesh's failure to produce their own big-scoring partnership in the manner of Rohit and KL Rahul's opening stand.

"If one of them could have made 80 or 90 then it would have been a different match," he said. "With 47 and 41 [two of Bangladesh's three biggest stands], it's asking too much."

England will be playing for survival and New Zealand have momentum as their motivation as the teams go head to head in the Cricket World Cup at The Riverside.

Wednesday's high-stakes clash is one Eoin Morgan's tournament hosts can ill afford to lose, knowing in such a circumstance Pakistan would pip them to a semi-final slot should they beat Bangladesh on Friday.

And after Monday's high-scoring clash between Sri Lanka and West Indies in Durham, the final group-stage match for England and New Zealand could become a shoot-out between the big-hitting batsmen on both sides.

New Zealand, who are bidding to avoid a third successive defeat, should be safe in the final four whatever the result. They can be matched on 11 points by Pakistan but have a significantly better net run rate.

The Black Caps look sure to keep faith with struggling opener Martin Guptill, with team-mate Ross Taylor saying he needs a lucky break and has the squad "fully backing him" as they seek a return to winning ways.

England have Jason Roy and Jofra Archer fit after their respective hamstring and side problems, Morgan said on Tuesday.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

England made a bright start by winning four of their opening five matches, but defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia inflicted major blows. They were impressive in beating India last time out, with Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes all batting well.

New Zealand also began the tournament in style, but losses to Pakistan and Australia have pegged their progress. Guptill is out of sorts and needs a score. Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult are cleaning up on the wickets front and pose a major threat.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Morgan: "It was clear that after the Australia game there was a huge amount of disappointment in the changing room. The fact that we have been able to turn that around, identify where we are at and identify what we need to do in order to progress to the semis ... is important and it's been effective."

Taylor: "We saw Sri Lanka-West Indies 300 played 300, so I think we've got to expect that scores of 300-plus are probably out there. But in saying that, both teams have got very good bowling line-ups that can exploit conditions if suited and vice versa some very powerful batting line-ups as well."

 

OPTA FACTS

- England have won three of their last four ODIs against New Zealand. It is a different story in their World Cup rivalry, where England won the first three meetings between the teams but have since lost five in a row.
- New Zealand will be looking to avoid three consecutive defeats at the World Cup for the first time since 1979-1983.
- New Zealand's Kane Williamson passed 6,000 ODI runs in his most recent World Cup match, becoming the third-fastest man to reach the mark (139 innings) behind Hashim Amla (South Africa, 123 innings) and Virat Kohli (India, 136 innings).
- Boult became the first man from his country to complete a hat-trick in World Cup history, producing the feat last time out against Australia.
​- England's Liam Plunkett bowled a full 10-over allocation at a World Cup for the first time in his most recent match against India, taking his best figures ever in a World Cup game (3-55, econ 5.5).

Rohit Sharma made his fourth century of the 2019 Cricket World Cup as India booked their place in the semi-finals with a 28-run victory over Bangladesh, who can no longer qualify for the last four.

Virat Kohli's men saw their unbeaten start to the tournament ended by England on Sunday, but they got back on track two days later, thanks largely to in-form opener Rohit striking 104 off 92 balls in another batting masterclass.

Bangladesh needed victory at Edgbaston to keep their slim hopes of progression alive, yet a chase of 315 proved beyond them as Hardik Pandya (3-60) and Jasprit Bumrah (4-55) starred with the ball.

An early Tamim Iqbal drop off Mustafizur Rahman allowed Rohit to build momentum alongside KL Rahul (77), the pair combining for the biggest opening partnership of the tournament so far, which finally ended on 180.

Rohit fell to Soumya Sarkar two balls after reaching his hundred and India were rocking slightly when captain Kohli (26) and Pandya were both dismissed by Mustafizur (5-59) within the space of three balls.

However, Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni hit 48 and 33 respectively to help their side to a healthy total of 314-9, the latter one of three victims for Mustafizur in the final over of India's innings.

Bangladesh made a steady start in reply, but talisman Shakib Al Hasan was the only member of the top five to kick on, reaching 66 in a continuation of his fine form.

When Shakib fell to Pandya, who had earlier dismissed Sarkar and Liton Das, the Tigers were 179-6 in the 34th over and staring defeat in the face.

Mohammad Saifuddin showed admirable defiance on his way to 51 not out off 38 balls, while Sabbir Rahman also chipped in with 36 as Bangladesh fought to stay in the game.

Yet Bumrah, who earlier required treatment following an awkward fall at the boundary, starred in the closing overs to make sure India prevailed.

 

Rohit reigns again

Rohit now has more runs at this tournament than any other player. He moved through the gears after being dropped on nine by Tamim in the fifth over and helped India to their best powerplay of the campaign, before continuing at a great pace to seemingly take the game away from Bangladesh.

Pandya spell pivotal

Mustafizur and Shakib threatened to really make things difficult for India. First, the bowler took a brilliant five-for to give Bangladesh hope, then Shakib produced another fine knock, becoming the first player to score more than 500 runs and take 10 wickets in a World Cup. However, Pandya's three wickets - including that of Shakib - came at a key time to restore control and Bumrah then came into his own at the death.

It was like West Indies skipper Jason Holder was discovering a surprise gift, hearing the news Chris Gayle planned to play on after the World Cup. 

Angelo Mathews put his body on the line at The Riverside to turn the tide in Sri Lanka's thrilling Cricket World Cup win over West Indies, earning warm praise from captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

Having reduced the Windies to 84-4 in defence of their 338-6 in a dead rubber in Durham, Sri Lanka were given a major scare by Nicholas Pooran's defiant century.

His apparent one-man victory march was not halted until the 48th over, when Mathews bowled his first ball in ODIs since December 2017 and had Pooran caught behind.

With fitness concerns having kept him from bowling, it was a timely and heroic intervention from Mathews that did not go unnoticed by Karunaratne.

"Angelo put his hands up and said, 'okay I will bowl two overs'. He has that confidence. He did the job," said the Sri Lanka skipper after his side's 23-run triumph.

"I don't think he is going to bowl much more but if it is a crucial time he might bowl a couple of overs."

Avishka Fernando's maiden ODI century had laid the platform for Sri Lanka, whose exit from the competition was confirmed when hosts England beat India on Sunday.

Despite his side failing to reach the semi-finals, Karunaratne did not have a hard time finding the positives after Monday's result.

"To win any match is a great feeling," he said. "It gives us lots of confidence. All of the players are doing really well. That is what I was expecting as a captain."

In contrast, opposite number Jason Holder was left to reflect on a miserable campaign for the Windies, who have not tasted victory since thrashing Pakistan in their group-stage opener back in May.

This was their sixth defeat in eight outings, with only Afghanistan – who they face in their final game – faring worse.

"We have just got to be better," said Holder. "We've let some key moments slip in this World Cup.

"I thought their score was on par. Fernando batted well – showed us things get easier if you stay in. Pooran was excellent too.

"I thought we finished our bowling well, but our fielding let us down. We just want to play the perfect game next time."

Angelo Mathews' timely bowling cameo proved crucial as an Avishka Fernando-inspired Sri Lanka fought off a spirited West Indies response in an entertaining Cricket World Cup dead rubber at The Riverside. 

Sri Lanka must beat West Indies at Chester-le-Street on Monday to keep their slim hopes of reaching the Cricket World Cup semi-finals alive.

A 125-run drubbing against India at Old Trafford on Thursday guaranteed the Windies will not feature in the last four.

Sri Lanka are unlikely to qualify, but they will still be just about alive if they defeat Jason Holder's men at the Riverside.

Dimuth Karunaratne's side went down by nine wickets in their clash with South Africa at the same venue on Friday, paying the price for a poor effort with the bat.

Seamer Kasun Rajitha has been added to Sri Lanka's squad with two group games remaining after Nuwan Pradeep was ruled out with chickenpox.

The Windies crumbled to only 143 in their encounter with Virat Kohli's side to bow out with a whimper.

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

Sri Lanka suffered a 10-wicket thrashing at the hands of New Zealand in their first game of the tournament and have lost three times, but claimed a surprise win over England after seeing off Afghanistan.

The Windies' crushing seven-wicket win over Pakistan proved to be a false dawn and a heavy defeat to India in Manchester was their fifth of the World Cup, knocking them out.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne: "I think the batting is the main problem. We couldn't get a hundred. If you want to compete with the good sides, you have definitely got to have a good batting line-up and you have to put runs on the board, so I think in this World Cup, the major issue is the batting line-up."

West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer: "Yes, we are out of the World Cup, but there is still a lot of cricket to play after the World Cup. It's important for us to, you know, find the winning ways and find the winning formula going forward, so it is important for us to play this game as hard as possible."

 

OPTA FACTS

- Sri Lanka have won five of their last six ODI clashes against West Indies, including a nail-biting one-run victory in their last meeting in November 2016.

- Sheldon Cottrell will be the only player featuring in this fixture to have taken 10 or more wickets in the competition and the paceman will be facing Sri Lanka for the first time.

- West Indies have lost their last five ODIs. The last time they lost more was an eight-game streak in their final eight matches in 2017.

Poor performances at the ICC World Cup from outsiders, the West Indies, who were eliminated as contenders for a semi-final position earlier this week, have reverted to their pre-competition position at number nine on the latest ICC rankings. 

Pakistan's thrilling win over Afghanistan was tarnished by ugly crowd scenes towards the end of their Cricket World Cup encounter at Headingley on Saturday.

Sarfraz Ahmed's side moved into the semi-final places courtesy of the victory, which was fervently celebrated by their passionate supporters in Leeds.

Both sets of fans had clashed earlier in the day, some turning up without tickets before attempting to enter the ground by other means.

And as Pakistan's chase reached its dramatic conclusion, there were more scuffles among spectators on the Western Terrace, close to the Carnegie Pavilion.

Imad Wasim then struck the winning runs with just two balls remaining, prompting a number of fans to run onto the field.

Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi appeared to be accidentally rugby tackled by one steward, while his team-mate Hashmatullah Shahidi looked to come into contact with a supporter as he left the playing area.

Plastic bottles were thrown in the direction of Pakistan followers and there were further confrontations outside the ground, where police and stewards worked to clear fans away from the Kirkstall Lane area immediately behind the pavilion.

Following the initial disturbances, an ICC statement read: "We are aware of some scuffles among a minority of fans and are currently working with the venue security team and the local police force, West Yorkshire Police, to ensure there are no further incidents.

"We do not condone this type of behaviour, and will take appropriate action against any anti-social behaviour that spoils the enjoyment for the majority of fans."

Nervy Pakistan survived a huge scare to beat Afghanistan by three wickets in an enthralling Cricket World Cup contest and pile the pressure on their rivals for a semi-final spot.

Shaheen Afridi's return of 4-47 was instrumental in helping restrict Afghanistan to 227-9 at Headingley, a total that looked below par on a day marred by clashes between spectators inside and outside the ground in Leeds.

But a scratchy middle-order showing with the bat from Pakistan, coupled with a fine bowling effort from Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, had the 1992 champions reeling at 156-6.

Imad Wasim (49 not out) provided the steadying influence Pakistan needed as they edged over the line with two balls to spare, meaning winless Afghanistan fell narrowly short of a famous victory just as they did a week ago against India.

Pakistan move up to fourth and raise the tension on hosts and pre-tournament favourites England ahead of their Sunday showdown with India, while Bangladesh now face an uphill task to make the last four.

Sri Lanka's hopes of reaching the Cricket World Cup semi-finals were severely dented on Friday as they lost heavily to South Africa, one of three teams already eliminated.

A nine-wicket defeat at The Riverside leaves Dimuth Karunaratne's side facing an uphill battle to make the last four, with 10 fixtures remaining in the group stage.

We take a look at how the qualification picture is shaping up ahead of a massive weekend.

 

ALREADY THROUGH - Australia

The defending champions have improved as the tournament has gone on and look capable of claiming a sixth World Cup title. Mitchell Starc - the leading wicket-taker when they triumphed in 2015 - is again the most prolific bowler in the competition, while David Warner leads the run-scoring charts after returning from his year-long suspension.

 

ALMOST THERE - India, New Zealand

India could yet be denied a place in the semi-finals if they fail to pick up a point in their remaining fixtures, but that seems highly unlikely. Virat Kohli's men are the only unbeaten side in the competition and need only a solitary point from games against England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to guarantee their progression.

Like India, New Zealand also have 11 points. The fact they finish the group stage with games against Australia and England may mean a few Black Caps fans are a little nervous, but it would be a huge surprise if Kane Williamson's side do not reach the last four. They may well already have enough points.

BATTLING TO STAY ALIVE - England, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Hosts England started the tournament as favourites, yet they are now in serious danger of an early exit, having lost successive matches against Sri Lanka and Australia. If England win their last two games they will definitely qualify, but India and New Zealand represent challenging opposition.

Should England slip up, Pakistan are poised to pounce. Sarfraz Ahmed's side have astonishingly matched their streak of results at the 1992 event they ended up winning and will fancy their chances of taking maximum points from games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Pakistan and Bangladesh both have seven points from as many games, one point fewer than England. The Tigers' task is made tougher by the fact they face India on Tuesday, but they cannot be counted out with Shakib Al Hasan enjoying a wonderful tournament.

 

RANK OUTSIDERS - Sri Lanka

The 1996 champions look to have blown their chance by losing to South Africa. They must now beat West Indies and India, and hope a series of other results go their way. An abysmal net run rate does them no favours.

 

OUT - South Africa, West Indies, Afghanistan

Few would have anticipated the Proteas being eliminated prior to the final week of the group phase, but their performances prior to Friday had been miserable, while West Indies peaked in their opening game against Pakistan and have since fallen away badly. Afghanistan face Pakistan and the Windies at Headingley looking to avoid the indignity of finishing the World Cup without a point.

Kemar Roach says West Indies must take a long, hard look at themselves after their Cricket World Cup failure but feels the future is still bright for Jason Holder's side.

The Windies' hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals were dashed when India consigned them to a chastening 125-run defeat at Old Trafford on Thursday.

India posted 268-7 after Virat Kohli won the toss on a glorious day in Manchester, the captain making 72 and MS Dhoni 56 not out.

The hostile Roach (3-36) was the pick of the Windies bowlers, with excellent support from Sheldon Cottrell (2-50) and captain Jason Holder (2-33).

Holder's men collapsed from 71-2 to 143 all out in reply, paying the price for a lack of application - Mohammed Shami doing much of the damage with outstanding figures of 4-16.

Paceman Roach says the Windies must learn their lessons after falling short in the tournament.

"All the bowlers bowled well. To restrict India for 260 is always going to be good," he told the media.

"They're a quality batting line-up, some world-class players on their team. And I think 260 on that pitch was, for me, [was] below par. But it was just not our day for the batsmen. So we go look at ourselves deeply and obviously move forward."

He added: "I think we have a bright future. We have some quality players around. [Shimron] Hetmyer and Oshane [Thomas], the younger guys, once they get some good guidance, they'll do well for West Indies.

"And I'm confident in the guys. I'll always be a fan of West Indies cricket for sure. And there's no doubt about it.

"It's all a good future for us. There's a couple of guys back home doing well as well. So hopefully we'll see these guys filter into the West Indies team in the probably near future."

Shimron Hetmyer strode to the wicket wearing a beaming smile in a Richie Richardson-style floppy sun hat, but trudged off disconsolately with West Indies heading out of the Cricket World Cup.

It was the India players and their magnificent, passionate fans who were grinning from ear to ear as they eased to a crushing 125-run win on a glorious Thursday at Old Trafford.

The Windies needed a win to have any hope of qualifying for the semi-finals, but bowed out with a whimper after collapsing to 143 all out having been set a target of 269 in Manchester.

While unbeaten India are almost certainly bound for the last four and will take some beating, the Windies selectors have some big decisions to make.

Hetmyer's approach to the middle and his time at the crease just about summed things up for Jason Holder's men.

Great entertainers when at their best, blessed with natural talent in abundance but lacking the application to give themselves a chance of making a serious impact in the tournament.

Hetmyer certainly looked the part in a wide-brimmed maroon hat, donned by the likes of the classy Richardson and Carl Hooper back in the day.

The gifted left-handed batsman was clearly trying to make a statement, but soon called for the helmet as brilliant India turned up the heat on the Windies with the sun beating down.

There was uncertainty throughout a poor run chase, which saw the men from the Caribbean crumble from 71-2, Sunil Ambris - playing his first match of the tournament - top scoring with only 31 as Mohammed Shami took 4-16 following his hat-trick heroics against Afghanistan.

While Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran are the future for West Indies, Chris Gayle looked like a man coming to the end of his international career.

Gayle stated on the eve of the match that he had backtracked on his intention to retire from ODIs after the World Cup and plans to resume his Test career against India next month, but the selectors must look at the bigger picture. 

They must also ask themselves why Kemar Roach has only played three World Cup matches after the quick was the pick of the bowlers with 3-36.

Prolific skipper Virat Kohli (72) and former captain MS Dhoni (56 not out) whipped an already raucous army of India fans into a frenzy and the Windies were unable to silence them.

Dhoni capitalised on a missed stumping and being dropped, conjuring up a late onslaught which thousands had turned up in the hope of witnessing.

Kohli sauntered casually over the outfield for the team bus very much heading in the right direction, while the wheels came off for West Indies and they are in need of some repair work.

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