Image courtesy of: The Telegraph
Both McCullum and Bailey were disappointed about the abandonment of the match
Australia opening batsman David Warner was a lone figure in the dugout as the baggy greens faced off against New Zealand in their highly anticipated Champions Trophy match.
Warner had been dropped for the match after getting into a physical altercation with England batsman Joe Root at the Walkabout bar in Birmingham on Sunday evening.
Bar manager John Creighton confirmed the scrap between Warner and Root had taken place, and said: “There was a small altercation between Warner and Root. This was dealt with very amicably and quickly by the rest of the group and both were calmly chatting to each other shortly afterwards. They all left a short while later and a small bar tab was picked up by David Warner. We are quite familiar with David’s face.”
With his hearing scheduled to be held today at 9.30 in the morning, Warner had one simple job throughout the match yesterday, which was to run and bring the drinks in rather than on the pitch, where he belongs.
Warner refused to speak about the incident and said: “I just want to draw a line under all of this and move forward.”
As the match was shaping up to be a tightly knit contest, the heavens parted and in the end, the rain had the final say at Edgbaston, leaving those in attendance as angry as the storm clouds overhead.
Australia captain George Bailey won the toss and elected to bat despite the overcast conditions and just 19 balls into Australia’s innings opening batsman Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes were both back in the pavilion with the scoreboard reading 10/2.
However, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and Bailey rescued Australia from a dire situation with a 64-run partnership that threatened to derail all the early pressure New Zealand had built up.
Once Wade fell, Adam Voges and Bailey continued to keep the scoreboard ticking for Australia and it wasn’t long before the captain himself was raising his bat in the air after crossing the half-century mark.
Bailey and Voges had compiled a brilliant 77-run partnership at a healthy rate of 4.81 runs per over before the Australian captain was clean bowled by Nathan McCullum.
However, Voges was far from finished as he continued to attack the New Zealand bowling attack and chance his arm, which proved effective as he too brought up his half-century in quick time.
Voges’ luck ran out a little while later and he walked off having made a brilliant 71 off 76 balls, which included seven boundaries.
Australia managed to propel their score to 243 at the end of 50 overs, largely thanks to Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell, both of whom added valuable runs towards the end of the innings.
New Zealand pace spearhead Mitchell McClenaghan, who turned 27 yesterday, continued his good run of form with the ball, taking four wickets, which included those of Watson and Voges.
Chasing 244 to win, New Zealand’s innings got off to a rocky start as Australia’s reigning ODI Player of Year, Clint McKay, made early inroads into the Blackcaps’ batting line-up.
With Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill both having been dismissed cheaply, it was up to Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor to rebuild New Zealand’s innings.
Just as both batsmen looked to be on top of things, the rain came and the umpires soon announced that the match would be abandoned.
As a result of the abandonment, New Zealand and Australia both received a point each, leaving the Blackcaps with a total of three points and the baggy greens with just one after two matches.
Bailey acknowledged the importance of this match after having lost to England last Saturday.
“The situation for us, believe it or not, was bigger than this – it was about making sure we won this game to stay in the tournament and play some better cricket than we had against England,” he said. “And with this sort of a result I am still not sure if we have done that.”
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum also refused to talk about the Warner incident and revealed his priorities were set on winning the match.
“I don’t really want to speak on what is going on with no concrete evidence,” McCullum said. “We knew that Australia were a good team regardless whether Dave Warner was opening the batting or not. Our focus was very much on how we were going to go about playing our game rather than worry about what was going on in the other team.”