Millennium Post

'Head'strong: Batsman's fiery 50 takes Aus to 277-9

Travis Head propelled Australia to a respectable 277 for nine with his fiery unbeaten 71-run knock after England's Mark Wood and Adil Rashid caused a batting collapse in a crucial Group A Champions Trophy here on Saturday.

Put into bat, Aaron Finch (68) and Steve Smith (56) blasted twin half centuries at the top, while Head scored an unbeaten fifty down the order after England decided to bowl.

Seamer Wood (4/33) and spinner Rashid (4/41) snapped four wickets each, while Ben Stokes (1/49) took one wicket at Edgbaston here.

In their must-win encounter, World Champions Australia lost opener David Warner (21) in the eighth over when he edged a Wood delivery and was caught by wicket-keeper Jos Butler.

Finch and Smith then dug their heels and ensured Australia don't suffer any more hiccups and brought up the first 50 runs in 8.5 overs. The duo rotated the strike well and picked up odd boundaries to guide Australia across the 100-mark in 18 overs.

Meanwhile, Finch completed his 50 off 47 balls in the 17th over with the help of seven fours. But he became a victim of Stokes in the 23rd over when a miscued shot was smartly taken by Eoin Morgan, rushing from mid-off. At 136-2, Moises Henriques joined Smith and the duo brought up the 150 in 25.3 overs. But the former couldn't stay longer as his miscued slog shot was holed out at mid-on by Plunkett off Rashid.

In the 31st over, Smith sent Plunkett for a boundary to reach his fifty off 68 balls with the help of five fours. One over later, Plunkett caught the Australian captain at mid-off after he failed to negotiate a Wood delivery.

Head and Glenn Maxwell (20) then shared 58 runs off 62 balls to take Australia to 239.

However, Australia suffered a collapse after that losing Maxwell, Matthew Wade (2), Mitchell Starc (0), Pat Cummins (4) and Adam Zampa (0) within 15 runs as they failed to accelerate in the end overs.

Head hit some lusty blows towards the end to prop up Australia. Meanwhile, during England's chase rain stopped play Chasing 278 to win, England were 35-3 in 6 overs when heavens opened up, forcing the umpires to stop the proceedings here.

England require another 243 runs with 7 wickets and 44 overs remaining. Rain affected Australia's campaign at the Champions Trophy as both their previous matches were washed out, leaving them with just 2 points from as many matches.

If Australia suffer their third straight washout, Bangladesh would qualify for the semi-finals, as they have
won a game.Incomplete.
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