BIRMINGHAM: Rain saw the Champions Trophy one-day international between Australia and New Zealand at Edgbaston on Friday end in a no result.
Australia, set a revised target of 235 to win in 33 overs, were 53 for three off nine overs when the last of several rain interruptions took the players off the field.
A minimum of 20 overs had to be bowled in Australia´s innings for a result to be possible but so severe was the final downpour that the umpires decided there was no possibility of getting to that mark within the scheduled playing hours.
Both teams received a point apiece for the no result from what was their opening match of the 2017 Champions Trophy, a tournament featuring the world´s top eight one-day international teams.
The main beneficiaries were Group A rivals and tournament hosts England, who launched this year´s edition with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh at the Oval on Thursday.
New Zealand, who saw their innings reduced to 46 overs after a rain break of nearly two hours, made 291 all out in 45
They lost their last seven wickets for 37 runs after captain Kane Williamson´s excellent innings of exactly 100.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood took an ODI best six for 52.
Earlier, Australia lost three early wickets in its 235-run chase against New Zealand in the 33 overs limit rain-hit match.
The Australian opening stand, David Warner and Aaron Finch, were sent to pavilion by Trent Boult and Adam Milne respectively.
Later, Adam Milne caught and bold Moises Henriques in the last delivery of eighth over of the match.
Before Australian innings, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made a brilliant century but then saw his side suffer a dramatic batting collapse.
The Blackcaps were on course for a score well above 300 while Williamson was at the crease during a well-judged inning of exactly 100.
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.
Josh Hazlewood was the chief beneficiary as several batsmen carelessly holed out, with the fast bowler returning one-day international best figures of six for 52.
Hazlewood took three wickets in four balls to wrap up the innings with an over to spare.
The Blackcaps made a brisk start either side of a rain break after Williamson won the toss and, surprisingly, opted to bat in overcast conditions.
Luke Ronchi led the way with a dashing 65 that saw him launch Pat Cummins high over long-off for six.
Australia had opted against fielding all four of their out-and-out fast bowlers, with James Pattinson the man who missed out on Friday.
Cummins, however, had already proved expensive by the time rain stopped play with New Zealand 67 for one midway through the 10th over.
The players were off the field for nearly two hours and when they returned, Ronchi carried on in a 15th over, bowled by Cummins, that yielded 15 runs.
The third ball was crashed through the covers for four by Ronchi, who should have been out for 54 when the next delivery saw him miscue a pull only for Mitchell Starc to drop the catch at mid-on.
Ronchi celebrated by flat-batting a four before ending the over with a soaring straight six.
Cummins´s first five wicketless overs had cost 52 runs.
John Hastings, however, restored some order for Australia when Ronchi found Glenn Maxwell at point to end a 43-ball innings featuring nine fours and three sixes.
New Zealand were now 117 for two in the 16th over after a stand of 77 in 60 balls between Ronchi and Williamson.
Williamson showed touch play could be effective too when he swept off-spinner Travis Head for a four between two legside fielders.
Alongside Ross Taylor, he put on 99 for the third wicket before his experienced team-mate fell for 46 when he holed out to mid-off against Hastings.
Williamson, however, hoisted Hastings for a legside six to go into the 90s before a flicked four and driven single off the same bowler saw him to a 96-ball century, his ninth at this level, with eight fours and three sixes.
His second fifty came off just 34 balls.
But he was then run out going for a sharp single by Moises Henriques´s throw to Cummins.
Hazlewood dismissed tailenders Adam Milne and Mitchell Santner as they went for big hits. Trent Boult survived the hat-trick but was then caught behind next ball.
Australia not playing ‘big four’
Skipper Steve Smith decided not to field all their ‘big four’ of fast bowlers in their Champions Trophy opener against New Zealand.
John Hastings — who has plenty of English county experience — was chosen over paceman James Pattinson.
“I don´t think we´ll end up going with the four big quicks,” Australia captain Smith had told reporters at Edgbaston on Thursday.
“He´s [Hastings] a little bit slower than the others and hits the seam and has some good skills throughout the middle as well.”
Left-arm fast bowler Starc, arguably the world´s leading ´yorker´ bowler, has recovered from a foot injury that cut short his tour of India.
Australia boast one of the most powerful top orders in ODI cricket, with captain Smith and opener David Warner outstanding batsmen in all formats.
Friday´s encounter at Edgbaston ground features several survivors, with New Zealand captain Kane Williamson the star turn in a top order that also includes Martin Guptill.
Blackcaps pacemen Tim Southee and Trent Boult are proven performers in England, but Southee said ahead of the tournament: “We know the conditions, but you can´t rely on that.”
New Zealand beat Australia 2-0 in a home ODI series earlier this year and Williamson said Thursday: “We have played each other a lot, and we are fairly familiar with each other but teams are always trying to do (things) slightly different.
“For us it´s trying to attack it as best we can. You come into these one-off clashes, they are very different, perhaps just being involved in a series.”