Rain play spoilsport in decider as Aus-NZ series ends 2-2

February 13th, 2009 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Brisbane, Feb 13 (IANS) Rain played dampener to an exciting finish in the fifth and deciding One-dayer between Australia and New Zealand, forcing a no-result that left the series level 2-2 at the Gabba here Friday.
The see-saw series was nearing to a fitting finale with New Zealand needing 34 off 36 balls with four wickets in hand in the truncated 22-overs match when heavy rain came down.

The match could have gone in any team’s favour, though New Zealand had the momentum with Martin Guptill (64 off 34 balls) and Brendon Diamanti (26 off 22) sharing an unbeaten 50-run partnership in 36 balls after New Zealand were reduced to 73 for six.

Australia scored 168 for four which included Brad Haddin’s unbeaten 88 and newcomer Callum Ferguson’s 55 not out.

Chasing a revised target of 156 runs in 20 overs, New Zealand recovered from an early collapse through Guptill’s attacking knock. Guptill and Diamanti were going great guns, taking New Zealand to 123 for six in 14 overs when rain poured heavily and the umpires had no option but to call it off.

Australia had strongly fought their way back in the five-match series from 0-2 down, but they were in trouble here after they lost three wickets for 30 with Kiwi quickies Kyle Mills (2-22) and Ian O’Brien (1-40) getting the ball to swing.

But Haddin, who scripted Australian comeback in the third one-dayer with a century, showed his usefulness as an opener and held the innings together. He attacked ferociously and played some sweetly timed shots. His 65-ball effort had five fours and three sixes.

Haddin was well-supported by Ferguson, who hit seven fours.

New Zealand top-order played their shots freely, though in the process gave their wickets at regular interval.

Brendon McCullum was the first to go as he attempted a wild heave over midwicket, only to miss the line as a perfect swinger from Ben Hilfenhaus crackled his stumps.

Peter Fulton’s (22 off 12) cameo included two fours and two sixes before he mistimed one and Ferguson managed well to caught him at covers off Nathan Bracken

(2-33).

Australia kept up the pressure and New Zealand were in trouble. Guptill, though, played solid at one end until he found an able ally in Diamanti and the duo almost took the match away from Australia before rains intervened.

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