Jonny Bairstow celebrates his century against New Zealand on Wednesday. Jason Cairnduff/Reuters
Jonny Bairstow slammed his second successive hundred to guide England to the semi-final of the World Cup, as they thrashed New Zealand by 119 runs in a crucial clash on Wednesday.
It is the first time England have reached this stage since 1992, when they made the last of their three losing appearances in the final.
Eoin Morgan's side scored 305-8 in their 50 overs as Jonny Bairstow top-scored with 106 and Jason Roy hit 60. The tournament hosts then bowled out New Zealand for 186 to guarantee a top-four finish in the 10-team group stage.
England, yet to win the World Cup, were set for a huge score at 194-1 off 30 overs before managing just 111 in the last 20 against a New Zealand attack missing injured fast bowler Lockie Ferguson. But, with Bairstow making 106, a total of 305-8 proved more than enough at Chester-le-Street.
New Zealand could only manage 186 in reply as they suffered a third successive defeat of the tournament following losses to Pakistan and champions Australia -- the team that beat them in the 2015 final.
One consolation for the Black Caps is that they should still join Australia, India and England in the last four as it will take a colossal change in net run-rate for Pakistan to overtake them even if Sarfaraz Ahmed's side beat Bangladesh at Lord's on Friday.
"I am really pleased," said man-of-the-match Bairstow. "We knew these two games were must-win to give ourselves the best opportunity of reaching the semi-final.
"We knew the performances in the last couple of games weren't up to scratch. To play the way we have and hopefully keep it going into the semis is pleasing."
England are now guaranteed to finish third in the standings and so will play in the second semi-final at Edgbaston on July 11.
As things stand, they are in line to face India, currently second, but it is still possible for Virat Kohli's men to leapfrog Australia at the top of the standings.
If England do play India it will be a repeat of Sunday's match at the Birmingham ground when, following back-to-back defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia, they inflicted a first reverse upon Kohli's side.
The opening semi-final between the first and fourth-placed sides is scheduled for Old Trafford next Tuesday.
New Zealand stumble
New Zealand, who would have reached the semi-finals had they won this match, saw their chase start badly when Henry Nicholls was lbw for a golden duck to Chris Woakes and decided against a review that would have reprieved him.
Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, then fell cheaply but worse followed for New Zealand when senior batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor were dismissed by contrasting run-outs.
Black Caps skipper Williamson, who came into this match with a tournament average of 113.50, fell for 27 in unlucky fashion when fast bowler Mark Wood got his fingertips to a Taylor drive and deflected the ball onto the non-striker's stumps with Williamson out of his ground.
Taylor was far more responsible for his own exit when, deciding to go for a risky second run on 28, he failed to beat Adil Rashid's throw from fine leg to Buttler.
After a brief stoppage when a streaker ran onto the field, the Black Caps lost Tom Latham, caught behind for 57, to leave them all but beaten at 164-7.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wkt), Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Trent Boult
Umpires: Sundaram Ravi (IND), Rod Tucker (AUS)
TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (AUS)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)
It was a superb display by the underdog Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semi-finals on net run-rate, while India topped the 10-team group stage.
Reigning champions Australia made one change after a surprise 10-run defeat by South Africa at Old Trafford, with the recently called-up Peter Handscomb replacing injured batsman Usman Khawaja.
Paceman Tim Southee missed out due to a calf injury as the Kiwis -- runners-up in the 2015 edition -- went in with two all-rounders in their starting line-up.
Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams was benched and fellow centre Ryan Crotty missed out altogether as New Zealand named their team for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland.
Bottom club Ittihad Kalba will look to bounce back to give their new coach a winning debut when they take on Fujairah in the fourth round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Friday.