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Australia would count themselves lucky when their opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy was abandoned due to persistent rain. And that feeling was admitted to by skipper Steve Smith in his post match reaction at Edgbaston on Friday. He also admitted that the bowling effort was “one of the worst in a long time” (read more about it here).
Australia were in trouble at 53/3 after nine overs before rain came calling and covers were brought on. After many interruptions, the match was eventually called off with the game already reduced to 46 overs once and Australia’s target reduced to 235 runs from 33 overs. Earlier, New Zealand had been bowled out for 291 runs from 45 overs.
Smith admitted that the weather had probably helped his side to one point – as against a zero. “We still had a lot of work to do and they’ve got a quality bowling attack as well, so we perhaps got away with one there. We certainly would have preferred to be in New Zealand’s position when we came off at the end,” he said.
Kane Williamson scored his ninth ODI century and Luke Ronchi also made the most of a modest bowling job by Australia’s pace trio of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. But New Zealand who looked on course to a comfortable 300-plus score were stopped in their tracks by Hazlewood who finished with 6/52 as the Kiwis lost seven wickets for 37 runs in under six overs.
Starc didn’t take a single wicket on his return to international cricket following the injury he picked up against India earlier in the year. His final figures read 0/52 and Smith hoped that it was just initial rust for the usually dominant left arm pacer. “Let’s hope it’s rust and let’s hope it’s gone. Because that was pretty ordinary. Credit to them they came out quite hard and played quite well up top and got their innings going. Kane timed his innings beautifully, played really well throughout the middle but we did not bowl well at all,” he added.
Australia now go on to London where they face Bangladesh at the Oval on June 5.