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NZ skipper Williamson happy after washout

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/06/2017

New Zealand captain and centurion Kane Williamson saw enough to be satisfied about after their opening match at the Champions Trophy against Australia was washed out.

Williamson's 100 off 97 balls and Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood's 6-52 were the standout performances as rain had the final say at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

After choosing to bat first, the Black Caps reached a weather-affected 291, dismissed off the final ball of their reduced 45-over allotment.

Australia, set an adjusted 235 to win from 33 overs, had stuttered to 53-3 before play was abandoned.

Williamson was philosophical about the outcome, even though his side appeared to have established the upper hand.

"We played some good cricket and we can't control the weather, although it is a little bit frustrating," he said.

There was plenty to reflect positively on heading into their second pool match against England in Cardiff on Tuesday.

Williamson said the aggression of openers Luke Ronchi (65 off 43 balls) and Martin Guptill (26 off 22) set the tone for he and Ross Taylor (46 off 58) to establish a good score.

Ronchi, selected ahead of Tom Latham in a tight call, justified it with a sizzling knock comprising nine fours and three sixes, either side of a sizeable break for rain.

Williamson's ninth one-day international ton was a typically assured knock, featuring eight fours and three sixes before he was run out in the 40th over.

That sparked a collapse, with the last seven wickets tumbling for 35 runs, with paceman Hazlewood the chief beneficiary.

The collapse was not a cause for concern, Williamson said.

"Guys come out and play aggressively and you are going to lose wickets," he said.

"That's the nature of beast when you come up against a side like Australia.

"They have a very good bowling attack and it can make striking from ball one very difficult.

"I appreciated the selfless behaviour our middle and lower order showed, to go out there and try to score from ball one."

Trent Boult removed classy Australian opener David Warner for 18 before fellow-paceman Adam Milne removed Aaron Finch and Moises Henriques relatively cheaply.

Just nine overs were possible in the chase but Williamson liked what he saw.

"I thought the guys came out and bowled aggressively, which was very important, and hit the wicket hard," he said.

"It was a small sample size but I thought they showed some good intent and bowled very well."

England will be a stiff challenge for the Black Caps, having opened the tournament with an eight-wicket defeat of Bangladesh.

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