Cricket: Rain ruins Black Caps chase

By Andrew Alderson in Birmingham

Martin Guptill turns from the crease as he is given out caught off the bowling of Australia's Clint McKay. Photo / AP
Martin Guptill turns from the crease as he is given out caught off the bowling of Australia's Clint McKay. Photo / AP

A result in the Champions Trophy match between Australia and New Zealand has been thwarted by rain at Edgbaston.

New Zealand were 51 for two after 15 overs in response to Australia's 243 for eight when showers gripped the city. Twenty overs for both sides are required to complete a match via the Duckworth-Lewis Method. New Zealand were 15 runs behind the asking score when the grey curtain came down.

SCOREBOARD

Australia held a slight advantage at the start of the New Zealand innings, courtesy of Clint McKay inducing catches from Martin Guptill (backward point) and Luke Ronchi (gully). Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson looked to provide stability but the innings still had that half-finished-game-of-Jenga feeling about it. The removal of a couple more wickets and the edifice was in danger of toppling.

The circumstances leave New Zealand on three points and Australia on one in group A of the tournament. Each team has a match to play but, based on run-rate, New Zealand would need to be trounced by England on Sunday to miss the semi-finals.

Australia's batsmen cast aside the controversy surrounding teammate David Warner's anti-social behaviour to post a competitive score.

Warner was stood down after it was revealed he had thrown a punch at England player Joe Root in a Birmingham bar after Australia's defeat to England on the weekend.

With regular captain Michael Clarke out with a back injury, stand-in leader George Bailey handled the added pressure of Warner's absence admirably to make 55 after coming to the wicket at 10 for two. He put on 64 for the second wicket with Matthew Wade, the highlight of which was the pair's sure footwork against Daniel Vettori, especially advancing down the wicket or sweeping. Bailey delivered on his promise to play Vettori watchfully. Wade did himself a disservice opting to take the solitary decision review in the interests of prolonging his innings, rather than giving due acknowledgment to the fact it he was plumb.

Adam Voges top-scored with 71, joining Bailey for a third wicket stand of 77. They forced New Zealand's fielders into the odd error turning ones into twos across an expansive outfield.

Mitchell McClenaghan's licence to bowl aggressively came up trumps with his fourth four-wicket bag in nine ODIs. He started with Shane Watson caught behind in the second over and finished with four for 65. Vettori was his parsimonious self, taking none for 23 from 10 overs, as New Zealand opted to use a rare 30 overs of spin.

There was irony to Warner's role delivering drinks rather than imbibing them over the day. That was reinforced by captain Clarke appearing in one of those token player advertisements on the big screen advising patrons pre-match to "enjoy your day at the cricket and please, drink within your boundaries".

Warner had been restrained by team-mate Clint McKay in his altercation with Root on Sunday morning before settling the bar tab and leaving. His Captain Caveman image continues to grow after a recent Twitter stoush with respected Australian cricket journalists Malcolm Conn and Robert Craddock. It came after a story about corruption and spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League was illustrated with his picture.

Warner was found guilty of breaching Cricket Australia's code of behaviour and fined A$5,750. The hearing for his latest transgression is expected to take place in the next 24 hours.

How it stands

Group A
New Zealand 3 points
England 2 points
Australia 1 point
Sri Lanka 0 points

England v Sri Lanka, Kennington Oval, tonight
England v New Zealand, Cardiff, Sunday
Australia v Sri Lanka, Kennington Oval, Monday

- NZ Herald

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