Birmingham - Australia captain Steven Smith looked forward
to a better performance from his attack in the remainder of the Champions
Trophy after an "ordinary" display in their no result opener against
Rain came to Australia's rescue when, after several
interruptions, Friday's match was finally abandoned with Smith's men 53 for
three off nine overs in pursuit of a revised victory target of 235 in 33.
But what most annoyed Smith was a profligate effort by his
pace bowlers which allowed New Zealand to get off to a flyer.
The Blackcaps, for whom captain Kane Williamson led the way
with exactly 100, were 254 for three in the 40th over and on course for a total
well in excess of 300 following a dashing 65 from opener Luke Ronchi.
But Williamson's run out sparked a slump that saw seven
wickets lost for 37 runs in under six overs as New Zealand finished on 291 all
Josh Hazlewood did the bulk of the damage with six for 52
but his figures could not disguise poor returns for fellow quicks Mitchell
Starc (none for 52) and Pat Cummins (one for 67).
"I thought it was probably one of the worst bowling
displays that we've put on for a very long time," Smith said.
"We bowled both sides of wicket. We gave them a lot of
freebies. And it was pretty ordinary, to be honest with you."
This was left-armer Starc's first match since the second
Test against India in March and Smith backed his spearhead to come good in
their second match of the one-day international tournament against Bangladesh.
"Let's hope it's rust and let's hope it's gone,"
said Smith. "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."
Smith accepted the weather had probably spared his side a
damaging defeat, saying: "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."
Tournament hosts England were the main beneficiaries after
launching the competition with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh at the Oval
Now one win against either of the trans-Tasman duo will see
Group A leaders England into the semi-finals.
Australia and New Zealand collected a point apiece for the
washout, although both teams knew before the tournament started they'd likely
have to win at least two of their three group matches to reach the semi-finals.
"It's obviously not ideal for both sides to have a
washout," said Smith. "For us now it's just about making sure that
we're playing each game like a final and winning the next two."
Williamson, as calm off the field as he was on it, where his
considered stroke-play was in marked contrast to much of the big-hitting around
him, refused to be downhearted after the chance of a prize win over Australia
was washed away.
"The guys were going well with the ball in hand and it
would have been interesting to see how it unfolded but we can't control the
weather," he said.
"We thought today was pretty good, and it's important
we move on to the next game (against England in Cardiff on Tuesday).
"The nature of this tournament is every game is
basically knockout-style. We'll need to be better again going into the game