New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori turned his fire on the umpires after his team were denied the chance of a victory following a farcical finish to the second ODI against England.
The Black Caps, chasing a revised target of 160 off 23 overs in a rain-affected clash here at Edgbaston, were 127 for two at the end of 19 overs with Brendon McCullum, one of the world’s best one-day batsmen, 60 not out.
Provided they didn't lose another wicket, they needed just seven runs off the 20th over — the minimum required to constitute a match — to win, albeit under dark skies and with rain falling, as it had done for several overs.
Umpire Steve Davis and his English on-field colleague Ian Gould then took the players off in a match already interrupted by rain.
England took 83 minutes to bowl 19 overs but Vettori said it were the umpires, not Paul Collingwood's men, who were at fault. “You just need the umpires to take control of the game and dictate the play,” Vettori said after Wednesday’s ‘no-result’ which left New Zealand still 1-0 down in the 5-match series. “There was obviously a bit of gamesmanship going on. You can't attack anyone for that but you need constant monitoring of the over-rate."
The ICC match referee Javagal Srinath insisted England had not done anything to warrant disciplinary action. “England were not in breach of the over-rate,” he said. “They had enough allowances. There were a few referrals to the third umpire and injuries.”
Vettori said this result felt like a defeat. “I think this is a game we would have won had we been able to play the allotted overs or even get through that 20th over.
“There’s a sense of disappointment in the dressing room, it's almost like a loss. It's been a tough tour.”
In last year’s World Cup final, Australia and Sri Lanka were obliged to come back on in near darkness in Barbados because several of most experienced officials forgot that 20 overs had been bowled in second innings. Wednesday's finish may not have been as embarrassing but it still left a bad taste.
But Davis, also speaking on behalf of Gould, defended his decisions. “For consistency with our rulings earlier in the day, we had to come off. The two teams were struggling to stand up. The number of balls left shouldn't come into it, if that's the way the conditions are,” he said.
England: Bell c Vettori b Mills 0, Wright c Styris b Elliott 52, Pietersen c Vettori b Mason 13, Bopara run out Hopkins 10, Collingwood c Flynn b Elliott 37, Shah lbw b Elliott 18, Mascarenhas c Hopkins b Southee 23, Ambrose c Taylor b Mills 1, Swann c Hopkins b Southee 1, Broad run out 1, Anderson not out 0
Extras: (1-b, 2-lb, 2-w, 1-nb) 6
Total (in 24 overs): 162
Fall of wkts: 1-0, 2-40, 3-77, 4-80, 5-126, 6-137, 7-147, 8-161, 9-161.
Bowling: Mills 5-1-24-2, Southee 5-0-35-2, Mason 2-0-24-1, Elliott 5-0-23-3, Vettori 5-0-27-0, Styris 2-0-26-0.
NZ: How c Shah b Broad 16, McCullum not out 60, Taylor c Wright b Collingwood 25, Styris not out 19; Extras: (4-lb, 3-w) 7
Total (for 2 wkts; 19 overs) 127
Fall of wkts: 1-25, 2-79.
Bowling: Anderson 3-0-16-0, Broad 3-0-28-1, Collingwood 4-0-23-1, Wright 3-0-20-0, Swann 5-0-26-0, Mascarenhas, 1-0-10-0.