Australia have been tipped, along with England, to qualify for the semifinals from Group A of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, with not many picking New Zealand to go through.
The rain didn’t help matters, with the target changed to 231 from 33 overs after another spell of bad weather.
For New Zealand’s captain, Kane Williamson, who top-scored on the day with a well-paced 100, the game was not completely wasted.
# When the match resumed, it was reduced to 46 overs each.
“Beating Australia 3-0 in the Chappell-Hadlee in 2007, the last World Cup (when New Zealand made the final for the first time) was pretty special and making the final of the (2009) Champions Trophy was a highlight”, he said.
After a blitzkrieg from opener Luke Ronchi, who took Pat Cummins apart in scoring 65 off 43 balls, it was the Williamson show as he manipulated the middle-overs like fake news does the gullible.
Josh Hazzlewood ran through New Zealand’s lower-order and returned with impressive figures of six for 52 from his nine overs.
Williamson fell soon after to a careless run-out, and Neil Broom followed for an ineffectual 14 from 18 balls as New Zealand threatened to lose some momentum, especially with Cummins returning to rattle helmets and deposit batsmen on their backsides.
But his run out sparked a slump that saw the Blackcaps dismissed for 291 after losing their last seven wickets for 37 runs in 35 balls. “We’re right behind (the CA) and what they are trying to do for the players and as partners of the game as well”.
But Smith admits Australia are looking to balance the side with an all-rounder – John Hastings or Marcus Stoinis – meaning one of the strike bowlers will be receiving an unwanted knock on the door on Friday morning. He played late, took chances when the odds were in his favour, manipulated the field and, when he tried to go big, he always had a well-constructed back-up safety shot. With the ball there, they came and bowled aggressively.
On the other hand, Australia will be eyeing revenge against New Zealand for what transpired earlier this year. They will likely field either Adam Milne or Mitchell McClenaghan as the fourth bowling option. But I probably would have preferred to be in New Zealand’s position when we came off at the end there. He was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood for 26 in the sixth over.
New Zealand next play England in Cardiff on Tuesday and Williamson, asked if his side were now “behind the eight-ball”, replied: “I suppose”. Williamson was joined by Ross Taylor and there was a mid-innings lull as the batsmen attempted to set a platform for a total above 300.
Although they pulled things back later on, Australia captain Steve Smith, celebrating his 28th birthday on Friday, slammed his side’s bowling effort.
Milne then removed Finch and Henriques, who both looked out of sorts.