New Zealand denied by rain with crucial victory in sight
NEW Zealand opener Brendon McCullum's unbeaten half-century proved in vain as heavy rain forced the abandonment of their NatWest Series clash with England at Edgbaston.
The Black Caps were left facing a revised target of 160 in 23 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
But after reaching 127 for two off 19 overs, the umpires conferred and the players left the field just one over short of the minimum number required to obtain a result.
New Zealand would have needed to score 134 by the end of the 20th over, providing they did not lose any further wickets, to level the series. It was tough luck on McCullum, who had reached his 50 off 42 balls with five fours.
When their innings began, New Zealand had needed to score at nearly seven runs an over to level the series after their 114-run reversal in the series opener at Chester-le-Street on Sunday.
Opener Jamie How rode his luck in twice inside-edging Stuart Broad for four but the Nottinghamshire paceman had the final say. How had made 16 of New Zealand's total of 25 when he picked out Owais Shah at short midwicket in the fourth over.
McCullum saw little of the strike in the early stages and did not collect his first boundary until the sixth over via a square cut off Luke Wright.
Ross Taylor, promoted to number three in the order, twice flicked England skipper Paul Collingwood off his legs for four as the 50 came up in the eighth over.
Under threatening skies the tourists gradually increased the tempo despite Collingwood ringing the changes and they reached 69 for one at the end of the three powerplays. Taylor (25) eventually threw his wicket away when he guided a Collingwood full toss into the hands of Luke Wright on the midwicket boundary.
Earlier England opener Wright had bludgeoned his career best one-day international score of 52 to help his side achieve a total of 161 all out in 24 overs. The Sussex all-rounder struck six fours and two sixes in his 38 ball knock before becoming one of Kiwi one-day debutant Grant Elliott's three victims.
The game started more than four hours late due to rain and was initially a 29-over affair – but further interruptions reduced this to 24, then 23.
New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori put England into bat on a slow surface after winning the toss and his decision was immediately justified with the wicket of Ian Bell. He lasted only three deliveries from paceman Kyle Mills before finding the leading edge and Vettori took a fine catch in the swirling wind, running back from mid-on.
Michael Mason's introduction into the attack in place of Tim Southee brought the prized wicket of Kevin Pietersen, who tried to hit Mason over the top but only succeeded in picking out Vettori at wide mid-off.
Wright hoisted Mason for massive sixes over long off and mid-wicket in an over which cost 20 runs.
Wright reached his 50 off only 33 balls but holed out to Scott Styris at long-off as he attacked Elliott, who finished with three for 23 from five overs with Mills and Southee claiming two wickets each.
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