Jos Buttler serves up crucial England T20 win against New Zealand

Jos Buttler was run out but not before cracking a match-winning 73 off 47 balls against New Zealand.

Jos Buttler was run out but not before cracking a match-winning 73 off 47 balls against New Zealand. Photo: AAP

Australia’s T20 World Cup defence is teetering after Jos Buttler powered England to a 20-run victory in its crucial clash against New Zealand.

In his 100th T20 international, Buttler benefited from two dropped catches to muster 73 off 47 balls and help England to 6-179 from its 20 overs at the Gabba on Tuesday.

He then snared a wonderful diving catch down the legside as New Zealand’s chase began horribly.

There was another twist though with Glenn Phillips (62 off 36) benefiting from a shocking Moeen Ali dropped chance to give New Zealand a pulse.

But with 61 still needed off 30 balls, England steadied as New Zealand finished on 6-159 in front of 22,547 fans in Brisbane.

The result leaves Australia, champions in Dubai last year, clinging desperately to hope of a semi-final passage when an England loss would have all but assured it.

Equal on points but well behind on net run rate, not even a huge win over Afghanistan on Friday can guarantee Australia’s progression providing England beats Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Previously unbeaten New Zealand is better placed, but must still beat Ireland in its final pool game to guarantee a spot.

“You don’t become a bad team overnight,” Buttler said of his under-pressure men.

“We came out tonight and left it all out there.

“It’s quite a ruthless tournament, tough to get through, but we know everything is kind of in our hands.”

Kane Williamson will be ruing a tough missed chance when Buttler was just eight off nine balls.

Running back from cover, the New Zealand captain appeared to have snaffled an incredible catch when he landed with the ball hugging his chest.

Replays showed the Kiwi captain had fumbled it though.

Buttler quickly returning to the centre after he had walked within one step of the boundary rope.

Once Alex Hales (52 off 40) departed he took charge, an outrageous lap sweep off a 148km/h Lockie Ferguson rocket sailing over the fine leg boundary.

He then used his wrists to swat a short ball past long-on and slapped another ridiculous six over mid-off.

Those strikes came after he was given another life on 40, Daryl Mitchell spilling a simpler catch on the midwicket boundary.

“You don’t want to be doing that,” Williamson said of his fumble.

“If you do he’s probably going to make you pay and he did that today.”

Ish Sodhi (1-23 from four overs) helped pull it back for New Zealand, a run out eventually ending Buttler’s innings in a whimper.

Ali had his own moment when Phillips was on 15, cruising to take what appeared a simple catch before losing sight of the ball and not laying a hand on it.

Phillips, fresh off a last-start century, teamed with Williamson (40 off 40) to give New Zealand, and Australia, distinct hope.

But Williamson’s departure and just three runs of Mark Wood in the 16th over and Sam Curran’s (2-26) second spell swung the game back in England’s favour.

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