No result New Zealand 291 (Williamson 100, Ronchi 65, Hazlewood 6-52) v Australia 53 for 3
History never repeats, the iconic New Zealand band Split Enz would have us believe. Turns out they didn't know what they were talking about. History very much repeated on Friday at Edgbaston, where back in 2013 Australia and New Zealand had met in a Champions Trophy group match. On that occasion, the first innings was completed and the chase was underway when rain washed the game away. And this year? Ditto.
There was enough play in this match for Kane Williamson to score his first ODI hundred against Australia, Josh Hazlewood to claim a career-best six-wicket haul, and Luke Ronchi to spark concern among his former countrymen with a 33-ball half-century. But there was not enough for a result, with Australia's chase only nine overs old - 11 short of the 20 required - when the rain set in. And so the points from the match were shared.
It leaves both teams searching for victories from their remaining two games against Bangladesh and England, although depending on results and net run-rates, it could be possible to progress past the group with just one win and this no-result. New Zealand likely felt the more disappointed by the weather, for with Australia at 53 for 3 from nine overs in pursuit of 235 from 33, Kane Williamson's men would have fancied their chances.
David Warner had been caught behind for 18 slashing at Trent Boult, a scratchy-looking Aaron Finch had chipped a catch to midwicket off Adam Milne for 8, and Moises Henriques sent a return catch to Milne for 18 from what turned out to be the final ball of the game. It left Australia in the remarkable position of having five of their past six ODIs at Edgbaston washed out, during a period that stretches back to their 2005 tour of England.
Earlier, Williamson had won the toss and chosen to bat on what he thought looked a good pitch for run-making. Steven Smith said he would have bowled anyway. For much of New Zealand's innings it seemed that Williamson had made the better assessment as he amassed a century and a hefty total loomed, but a late collapse and six-wicket haul from Josh Hazlewood kept Australia firmly in the contest.
Williamson was run out for an even 100 and it sparked a period of rapid decline for New Zealand, who lost their last seven wickets for 37 in the space of six overs. Hazlewood mopped up the lower order in emphatic fashion, finishing with a career-best 6 for 52 as New Zealand failed by an over to last their reduced allotment of 46 overs.
It was quite the turnaround after Australia were first mauled by a man who used to be one of their own. Ronchi blasted his way to a 33-ball half-century to justify his inclusion ahead of Tom Latham, before Williamson and Ross Taylor combined for a 99-run partnership that kept New Zealand on the right path.
The Australians were rusty in the field - Ronchi was dropped by Mitchell Starc at mid-on and also survived when Australia muffed what should have been a straightforward run-out - and looked like a side that had not played ODI cricket for several months. Smith said at the toss that he was pleased his fast bowlers would have first use of the conditions, but they were not helped by an almost total lack of swing.
In fact, the only thing swinging in the early overs was Ronchi's bat, as he thumped boundaries all around the ground. He lost his opening partner, Martin Guptill, whose leading edge was caught at point off Hazlewood for 26, and almost lost his own wicket he gave up on an attempted single only to see the throw miss, and Matthew Wade fail to gather the ball cleanly, allowing Ronchi to make his ground.
A lengthy rain delay in the tenth over reduced the contest to 46 overs per side, and Ronchi scored quickly upon the resumption. Australia knew what he could do - he had smashed a 22-ball ODI fifty for Australia against West Indies back in 2008, but this time they were on the receiving end. To add to their frustration, after Ronchi was dropped by Starc at mid-on off Pat Cummins he crunched the next two balls for a four and a six.
His stay ended on 65 off 43 balls when he was caught at point off John Hastings, but New Zealand by that stage were 117 for 2 and had more than 30 overs remaining to build on their total. That was precisely what Williamson and Taylor set out to do, two of the most level-headed of international batsmen compiling a common-sense partnership that by just a single run failed to become their fourth consecutive ODI century stand in England.
Hastings managed to deceive Taylor (46) with a slower cross-seamer that was skied to cover, but if the hundred partnership was not to eventuate then a personal century for New Zealand's captain would have to suffice. Williamson brought up his hundred from his 96th delivery but perished soon afterwards, run out with eight fours and three sixes to his name.
And then came the carnage. Neil Broom was caught in the deep off Hazlewood, Corey Anderson skied a catch off Pat Cummins in the next over, James Neesham whacked a catch to mid-on off Hazlewood in the next. And Hazlewood finished things quickly in his next over with three wickets in four balls, running through Milne, Mitchell Santner and Boult.
It left the Australians needing 292 from 46 overs, which was then altered to 235 off 33 overs following further rain during the innings break. It turned out that even the 20 overs needed to consititute a match was unattainable.