press trust of india
BIRMINGHAM, 12 JUNE: Australia&’s semi-final prospects in the ICC Champions Trophy was today severely dented after their crucial Group A match against Trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand was washed out.
Both New Zealand and Australia have garnered a point each from today&’s washed out encounter.
New Zealand, who defeated Sri Lanka by one wicket in their tournament opener, are at the top of Group A with three points from two games, followed by England (2 points 1 match), Australia (1 point from 2 matches) and Sri Lanka who are yet to open their tally.
New Zealand will now face England in their last group match, while Australia face a must-win situation against Sri Lanka in their final encounter.
However, a win against Sri Lanka alone won’t guarantee Australia a place in the semi-finals as their fate would hang on the results of the remaining Group A matches.
Chasing Australia&’s 243 for eight, New Zealand were 51 for two after 15 overs when rain played spoilsport, forcing the on-field umpires to call for the covers.
Kane Williamson (18 not out) and Ross Taylor (9 not out) were at the crease when rain interrupted the game. Luke Ronchi (14) and Martin Guptill (8) were the two Kiwi batsmen to depart with pacer Clint Mckay (2/10) accounting for both the wickets. Although the rain stopped later on, the nearly two-hour long downpour rendered the ground unplayable, forcing the umpires to call off the game.
Earlier, Adam Voges top-scored with a 76-ball 71 as Australia laboured to a fighting 243 for eight. Besides Voges, stand-in skipper George Bailey contributed a patient 55 off 91 balls, his second consecutive fifty. However, it was Glenn Maxwell&’s cameo towards the end that propped up Australia&’s run rate and took the score past 240. Maxwell remained unbeaten on 29 off 22 balls and hit two sixes and a four. He added 24 runs off a mere 14 balls with Clint Mckay for the ninth-wicket. As far as specialist batsmen were concerned, Voges and Bailey were the only ones to have made noteworthy contributions for Australia. The duo shared 77 runs in 16 overs for the fourth wicket after Australia were reduced to 74 for three in the 19th over on an Edgbaston pitch that&’s not really tailormade for strokemaking.
Mitchell McClenaghan was the most successful bowler for New Zealand, returning with figures of four for 65 in 10 overs, his second successful haul after his effort in the win against Sri Lanka on Sunday. Nathan McCullum picked up two for 46.
Sent into bat, Australia were off to a disastrous start as they lost two wickets, including the important one of Shane Watson, with just 10 runs on the board.
Bailey along with opener Matthew Wade ~ playing in place of David Warner who was axed from the playing XI on disciplinary ground ~ added 64 runs for the third wicket to stabilise Australia’s innings.
McCullum gave New Zealand a breakthrough, having wicketkeeper-batsman Wade trapped in front of the wicket after the Aussie had struggled his way to 29 off 57 balls.