Australia’s hopes of retaining the ICC Champions Trophy were dealt a further blow when rain ruined their crucial Group A clash with New Zealand at Edgbaston today.
Having been beaten by England in their opening encounter at this year’s tournament, the two-time defending champions had the Black Caps 51 for 2 after posting 243 for 8 themselves.
However play was unable to resume and having only faced 15 overs, New Zealand had not batted long enough to bring the Duckworth-Lewis system into play.
It meant both nations took a point apiece, a far better outcome for the Kiwis than their trans-Tasman neighbours. England, too, won’t mind – they could now clinch a semi-final berth with a win over Sri Lanka tomorrow
Australia, meanwhile, will have to win their final round-robin game to have any chance of making the knockout stages. They will be hoping to have skipper Michael Clarke available when they face the Sri Lankans on June 17.
The Aussies had a disastrous start to proceedings; Shane Watson became the first of four wickets for Mitchell McClenaghan when he edged to wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, while Phil Hughes was run out for a duck to make it 10-2.
Stand-in skipper George Bailey steadied the ship, firstly putting on 64 with makeshift opener Matthew Wade (29) and then a further 77 with Adam Voges.
He eventually fell for 55 when bowled by spinner Nathan McCullum (2-46), but Voges batted on to make a top score of 71 from 76 balls.
Mitchell Marsh (22) and Glenn Maxwell, who belted the only two sixes of the Australian innings in making an unbeaten 29, provided late cameos to boost the final total, despite McClenaghan’s 4-65.
Seamer Clint McKay then dismissed openers Ronchi (14) and Martin Guptill (eight) to check New Zealand’s early progress in their reply, only for rain to soon put a stop to it completely. (Sky)