Black Caps beat England in rained-off match
HAMISH BIDWELL IN CHITTAGONG
New Zealand have made a winning start to their World Twenty20 campaign, after beating England by nine runs on the Duckworth-Lewis Method this morning.
Chasing 173 to win their opening Group 1 match, at Chittagong's Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, the Black Caps were 52 for one when a spectacular electrical storm was followed by rain, which forced the players from the field after just 5.2 overs of their innings.
The par score for 5.2 overs and one wicket down was 43 and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum ensured New Zealand were ahead of that when he smashed England counterpart Stuart Broad back over his head for six, off the last ball of the fifth over.
At 47 for one, the Black Caps were already ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis asking rate, but Kane Williamson pushed them further clear by taking a four and a single off the first two balls of the new over bowled by Chris Jordan. Under the rules, five overs constitutes a match.
Rain hadn't been forecast for Chittagong and there was no sign that it had arrived until McCullum pulled away from the third ball of the fifth over, following lightning and thunder. It seemed like it must've been fireworks, but the electrical stuff continued and both McCullum and Williamson had their concentration disrupted during the five balls that followed.
Umpires Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel conferred twice and decided to keep the players on the field. But once it stated to tip down the covers were signalled for and everyone scuttled off.
The covers were then lifted until, five minutes before a final umpires' inspection at 10.35pm local time, the heaven's opened again and that was that. The outcome would've been more than satisfactory for New Zealand, who meet win-less South Africa from 10.30pm (New Zealand time) tomorrow night.
South Africa turned in a sloppy allround performance to lose to Sri Lanka by five runs in the first game of this Chittagong double-header, having been set 166 for victory. The Proteas now need to win all of their three remaining group games to qualify for the semifinals, starting with the Black Caps.
On the strength of what happened on the first day and night of Group 1 play, New Zealand can approach the rest of this tournament with confidence. Twenty20 cricket can be a lottery, but the Black Caps don't appear to have a huge amount to fear from South Africa or Sri Lanka and you feel they would've accounted for England had this game gone the distance.
England's innings had been a hard one to put your finger on.
They looked capable of something in the vicinity of 200, but then could've been restricted to 160. A final total of 172 for six was probably about par on this wicket, although the Black Caps probably would've felt England ended up with more runs than they ought to have.
Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi no doubt knew that better than most. He dropped Ravi Bopara on seven, then missed a chance to run him out after the batsman wandered off for some reason.
Bopara finished with 24 not out and while that's hardly a world-beating score, those extra runs did enable England to get up to a par effort.
Left-armers Mitchell McClenaghan and Corey Anderson had been the best of the Black Caps' bowlers. In the dewy conditions, New Zealand opted for Nathan McCullum as the sole spinner, picking McClenaghan, Kyle Mills and Tim Southee as their specialist quicks having used allrounder Jimmy Neesham in the warm-up games and picking two slow bowlers.
McClenaghan (one for 22) was hostile and accurate, operating in a good area outside off stump. Mills and Southee had both banged the ball into the wicket at different times, but they were too straight and brought the pull shot into play.
Mills was the better of the two, finishing with one for 36. Southee went for 46 from his four overs, the third of which had gone for just two. Anderson had the dubious honour of bowling the last over, but still finished with the very good figures of two for 32.
The Black Caps now have a brace of day games - starting with South Africa tomorrow night and then The Netherlands on Saturday - and you assume a second spinner will be included for those.
World Twenty20 Tournament
New Zealand v England at Chittagong
M Lumb c Anderson b McClenaghan 33
A Hales c Anderson b Mills 0
M Ali c McClenaghan b Anderson 36
E Morgan c McCullum b Southee 12
J Buttler b Anderson 32
R Bopara not out 24
C Jordan c Southee b McCullum 8
T Bresnan not out 17
Extras (lb 4, wd 6, nb 0) 10
Total (for 6 wickets, 20.0 overs) 172
Fall: 1-1 (Hales, 0.3), 2-73 (Ali, 7.5), 3-76 (Lumb, 8.4), 4-103 (Morgan, 12.2), 5-129 (Buttler, 15.4), 6-148 (Jordan, 17.4)
Bowling: K Mills 4-0-36-1 (2w, M McClenaghan 4-0-22-1, T Southee 4-0-46-1 (2w, C Anderson 4-0-32-2 (1w, N McCullum 4-0-32-1 (1w
M Guptill c Jordan b Dernbach 11
K Williamson not out 24
B McCullum not out 16
Extras (lb 1, nb 0) 1
Total (for 1 wicket, 5.2 overs) 52
Fall: 1-29 (Guptill, 3.3)
Bowling: M Ali 1-0-7-0, J Dernbach 2-0-13-1, T Bresnan 1-0-10-0, S Broad 1-0-16-0, C Jordan 0.2-0-5-0
Result: New Zealand won by nine runs on the Duckworth-Lewis Method
What do you make of the decision to ban Kane Williamson from bowling?