England’s last-four aspirations had looked as gloomy as the Welsh weather when the start of play was delayed by over five hours; a non-result would have left the host’s tournament chances hanging in the balance.
But once the weather improved to allow a match of 24 overs a side, England produced a controlled display to win by 10 runs.
Captain Alastair Cook made an excellent 64 of 47 balls, although he was dropped on three occasions by Nathan McCullum, as England, batting first, were dismissed two balls inside the distance, while Joe Root contributed a fine 38 in a score of 169 all out.
New Zealand’s reply never really got going after the James Anderson (three for 32) removed Luke Ronchi (two) and Martin Guptill (nine) during the fourth over.
Ross Taylor (three) and Brendan McCullum (eight) soon joined them in the pavillion, but the arrival of more light rainfall briefly threatened to derail England’s victory charge.
However, the weather held off for England to claim the victory needed to advance, despite a defiant 67 from Kane Williamson, which briefly threatened to bring the Black Caps back into contention.
Kevin Pietersen has confirmed his own comeback date, for Surrey against Yorkshire at Headingley this week.
Pietersen, who has not played any cricket since March because of a knee injury, is on a tight schedule to prove his match fitness in time for the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on July 10.
Surrey’s LV= County Championship fixture against Yorkshire on Friday has long been identified as the mercurial batsman’s likely return.
It will give him two matches to demonstrate his form and fitness, and Pietersen this morning made it clear that is currently still the plan.
As Pietersen does take part, he will then have a second opportunity - for England against Essex at Chelmsford - for match action before the Ashes.