Little more than a week after defeat to Australia left them fighting for their tournament lives, Eoin Morgan’s men were making plans for their first appearance in the last four since 1992.
They are now guaranteed to finish third in the table and will face either Australia or India at Edgbaston on Thursday.
That they do so with their identity crisis over and morale peaking owes much to Bairstow’s 106, a second bloody-minded hundred in four days that underpinned England’s 305 for eight.
If his previous effort against India was an emotionally-charged response to his minor spat with Michael Vaughan, the follow-up deserves to be remembered for nothing other than its sporting brilliance – 106 runs, 14 boundaries, one six and a thoroughly decisive contribution.
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It has become increasingly apparent that his opening partnership with the fit-again Jason Roy (60) represents England’s ace in the hole, with the duo scoring their third consecutive three-figure stand and forging an advantage the Black Caps never wrestled back.
Things stalled once they exited, England reaching 194 for one from 30 overs and losing seven for 111 thereafter – but New Zealand’s reply never threatened and they were brushed aside for 186.
Dangerman Kane Williamson was run out backing up via the tiniest of touches off Mark Wood’s outstretched hand, with the seamer also helping himself to three for 34.