Australia rescued by the rain

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New Zealand and Australia shared the points as their contest at Edgbaston was rained out in disappointing fashion. 

New Zealand will be the more frustrated side by the result as they looked on track for a good win when rain had the final say in Birmingham.

Kane Williamson won the toss and boldly elected to bat first on a cloudy morning and he would go on to do his side proud with a magnificent hundred that helped take his score to a strong showing of 291 all out in the Duckworth-Lewis affected 46-over match. In reply, Australia managed a scrappy 53 for three in nine overs.

Luke Ronchi (65 off 43 balls) set the tone from the get go as he dispatched the white ball all around the park and helped his captain put on a handsome 99 runs for the second wicket in just 18 overs. Williamson started his innings carefully, acting as a neat foil for the dashing opener. His knock was well measured and he increased the tempo gradually and ended up with a 97-ball even 100 when he was run out. The wicket heralded a collapse of seven for 37 as Josh Hazlewood (6-52) made merry with the ball and restricted their old foes to a score of under 300.

It is generally agreed that the DL method favours the side batting second but the formula has been changed in recent years and when there was another rain delay during the innings break, Australia’s goal post of 292 in 46 overs was moved to 235 in 33 overs, which sounded a much stiffer ask.

Australia were still solid favourite to get the runs but they appeared a little ring rusty – they hadn’t fielded sharply either – and some good bowling from Trent Boult (1-28) and Adam Milne (2-9) brought rewards. David Warner (18) nicked off and then Aaron Finch (8) was caught in a soft fashion in the infield. When Milne had Moises Henriques (8) caught and bowled, the Black Caps were ahead on D/L by 25 runs. And then the rain returned to dampen the parade.

It was a great pity that this Tasman derby was washed out. Rain is likely to affect many games in this short tournament of two and a half weeks and there are no reserve days in the group stages. As Williamson told us after the match, “It’s a funny game, cricket.” It sure is.

By Nicholas Sadleir

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