The Latest: Australia strangles NZ by 86 runs at Lord's
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Day 31 of the Cricket World Cup (all times local):
Australia strangled New Zealand in winning their group game by 86 runs at Lord's.
Australia, still the only team to have qualified for the semifinals, is heading to the playoffs showing ruthless improvement in every appearance.
After rejecting a chance to rest front-liners and promising to keep its foot on the pedal, the Australians squeezed out a fifth straight win defending a total since its only loss of the tournament to India. The defending champions extended their lead atop the standings to three points over unbeaten India, which has two games in hand.
The New Zealanders would have cemented a semifinal position with a win, but after their bowlers earned them a winning target of 244, they were overwhelmed by an even better display of bowling from the defending champions. The Kiwis were all out for 157 in the 44th over with Mitchell Starc taking tournament-best figures of 5-26, his second 5-for of the event.
He has 23 wickets, one more than he took in the 2015 World Cup, with at least two more matches to play.