MARK WOOD was able to celebrate ‘one of the best days of his life’ as he starred on home soil to help propel England to their first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1992.

The Durham paceman took three wickets and claimed the crucial run out of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson as England romped to a 119-run win in their final group match at Emirates Riverside.

They are now assured of a spot in Thursday’s second semi-final at Edgbaston, where they will face either India or Australia depending on the results of Saturday’s games.

Jonny Bairstow’s second century in the space of four days helped England post an imposing total of 305-8, and after running out Williamson by deflecting the ball into the stumps at the non-striker’s end, Wood ripped through New Zealand’s lower order to confirm his side’s success.

“It definitely means more for me because it was here at Durham,” said Wood, who has emerged as a key part of England’s first-choice bowling line-up. “It was a pretty special day.

“It was probably the best day I’ve had apart from my (international) debut, which was also here. That was an amazing day, singing the national anthem in front of my family out here was pretty special, but this is right up there.

“The ground looked great, it was a great day to have such a big game up here, and the result just made it even better. It was a must-win game, and we did what we had to do. It was a bit like 2015 when we had to win the game here against New Zealand to win the series. I guess lightning does strike twice.”

Wood has been through the wringer in the last few years, with a succession of serious ankle problems having kept him on the sidelines for a number of long spells.

At one stage, it looked like his career might be in jeopardy, but he battled back to full fitness and has been one of England’s most influential performers during their group-stage campaign.

“I might get a nose-bleed, I’ve played that many games in a row,” said the Ashington-born paceman. “I don’t think I’ve ever patched this many together. I’m pretty happy with the form, and the way my body is going - I just need to keep it going now.

“I think I’ve performed quite well, so I’ve managed to keep my spot through my form. Although previously I would have been rested, actually going from game to game, I’ve still felt pretty good.

“There wasn’t a need to change. If the tactics demanded it, or Morgs (Eoin Morgan) wanted to try something else, that would have been absolutely fine, but he’s given me confidence and backed me all the way, which has meant I’ve kept playing.”

Yesterday’s display saw Wood clean bowl James Neesham and Matt Henry, and also trap Mitchell Santner leg before, but his most crucial intervention came when he ran out Williamson by deflecting Ross Taylor’s drive into the stumps at the bowler’s end.

It was the briefest of fingertip touches – had he not made any contact with the ball, Williamson would have been given not out – but while it took a lengthy video review to confirm the dismissal, Wood was always confident he had done enough.

“I’ve got the smallest hands for a bloke that I’ve ever seen, but I managed to get a fingertip on it, so he doesn’t know how unlucky he is,” he said. “I don’t bite my fingernails luckily. The umpires weren’t sure if I’d tipped it, but I said, ‘I swear to God, I got a fingertip on it’. It went upstairs and the lads were saying, ‘If you’ve touched that, he’s out’. I said, ‘I swear it just flicked the end of my finger’. I was pretty pleased.

“You need moments like that. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever bowled at, so to get him out any way you can is pretty important. It saved me bowling at him anymore so I was pretty pleased, it saved my bowling figures I guess.

“I got lucky. It’s not as though I deliberately palmed it back at the stumps, I was just trying to stop it and got a little bit fortunate. In big games, at big moments you need that. I’m just happy that in such a big game, we managed to get lucky.”

England can now look forward to a week’s break before they head to Edgbaston for one of the biggest games in the country’s cricketing history a week on Thursday.

They have proved their mettle by beating both India and New Zealand when a defeat in either game would almost certainly have proved terminal to their hopes of making the last four, and rediscovered the aggressive, front-foot approach that has served them so well as they have dominated white-ball cricket in the last couple of years.

“We’ve got some great momentum,” said Wood. “I know it’s a cliché, but we’ve tried to take it one game at a time, and the values and the things we’ve said previously haven’t changed.

“It’s taken a lot of courage to keep carrying them through, even when we’ve had our backs up against the wall. To carry them through showed a lot of courage from the team, and now we’re going on to another huge game, but one we’ll be pretty confident in.”