Rain ruins New Zealand hopes, saves Australia the blushes

The match was finally abandoned around 6:30 p.m. local time, with the teams earning a point each. The result does neither of them any favours in a competition such as this.

New Zealand players celebrate the dismissal of David Warner in Birmingham on Friday   -  AP

 

A struggling Australia was rescued by the rain in its Champions Trophy clash against New Zealand here on Friday. Chasing a revised target of 235 in 33 overs, Australia was reeling at 53 for three in nine overs when the skies opened up, interrupting play for the third time on the day. The match was finally abandoned around 6:30 p.m. local time, with the teams earning a point each. The result does neither of them any favours in a competition such as this.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand’s quick bowlers were a great deal better than their Australian counterparts, building up some early pressure. David Warner and Aaron Finch fell in the space of nine balls, to Trent Boult and Adam Milne respectively. Milne was fast and effective, and when he sent Moises Henriques—who was chosen instead of Chris Lynn here – back, Australia was in serious trouble. The Kiwis would have no luck with the weather, though.

Earlier, a composed hundred from Kane Williamson and an attacking fifty from Luke Ronchi had led New Zealand to 291. The rain first came down less than 10 overs into the match, after Williamson had elected to bat first.

Play resumed after a two-hour delay, when the match was first reduced to a 46-overs-a-side affair. A second spell of rain during the interval further shortened the run chase. Ronchi and Williamson were united at the crease after Martin Guptill had fallen for 26. The pair added 77 runs (60b) in quick time for the second wicket. Patrick Cummins suffered much at Ronchi's hands.

He bowled with pace but was either too full or too short or too wide and Ronchi, with his shot-making ability, took full advantage. There was one six over wide long-off, the pick of his strokes, and another over point.

The wicket-keeper batsman made his international debut for Australia in 2008 and played four ODIs and three T20Is for the country before moving to New Zealand, who eventually called him up. Ronchi – who should have been run out earlier – was dropped on 54 by Mitchell Starc off Cummins. He promptly made Australia pay, taking 10 runs off the next two balls. Cummins had gone for 52 from his first five overs, but recovered to finish with one for 67 from nine overs.

Ronchi was finally dismissed for a 43-ball-65, his fourth ever ODI fifty and first in nearly two and a half years. Prior to this match, his top score against Australia was 19 from six innings, at an average of 10.

At the other end, Williamson showed he could play all manner of shots, and all of them with wonderful ease. An early pull for four off Josh Hazlewood was especially delightful. A slog-sweep for six off Travis Head followed, and later two shots off successive balls from Hastings that perfectly summed up his abilities: a delicate slice over point and a proper heave over deep mid-wicket. Williamson moved to 99 with a scoop over his shoulder for four and next ball raised his ninth one-day hundred. He was run out for 100, after which New Zealand crumbled. Australia came back towards the end of the innings, though, when New Zealand lost seven for 37 in six overs. Hazlewood, who struggled with his line early on, finished with career-best figures of six for 52.

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