Rain scuppers New Zealand hopes

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The Independent Online

New Zealand's quest to claim the Chappell-Hadlee Series ended in frustration today when rain interrupted their run-chase against Australia.

The hosts made 168 for four from their reduced allocation of 22 overs with the Black Caps handed a revised target of 156 from 20.

They looked poised to clinch the decisive game five at 123 for six from 14 overs when the rain returned to Brisbane, forcing the match to be abandoned.

Brad Haddin and Callum Ferguson struck unbeaten half-centuries in Australia's innings but New Zealand will feel hard done by as they needed just 33 runs off 30 balls and still had two power-plays up their sleeve.

Opener Martin Guptill was the star after smashing an unbeaten 64 from 34 balls to put the Kiwis within sight of a famous victory.

Debutant Brendon Diamanti provided solid support with a timely 26 off 22 as the pair put on an unbeaten 50-run stand.

The series finished all tied up at two apiece after the Australians clawed their way back from a 2-0 deficit to set up the decider.

New Zealand made the worst possible start to their pursuit when Ben Hilfenhaus bowled dangerman Brendon McCullum for two with the second ball of the innings.

But Guptill made his intentions clear by depositing Nathan Bracken (two for 33) over the mid-wicket fence before Peter Fulton chimed in with consecutive boundaries.

The onslaught continued when Hilfenhaus conceded 21 runs from his second over but Fulton's luck ran out on 22 when he skied Bracken to Ferguson.

Guptill welcomed Mitchell Johnson into the attack with a massive six behind square but Johnson soon had reason to smile when he removed Ross Taylor for four.

The lanky opener continued to plunder the attack but the wickets kept falling as Grant Elliott (nought), Neil Broom (nought) and Kyle Mills (one) all went cheaply.

Guptill continued to score freely and finally found support in Diamanti as the Kiwis took the ascendancy before the weather spoiled their party.

Earlier, Haddin continued his fine form with an unbeaten 88 off 65 deliveries to guide the hosts to a respectable total.

Haddin appeared in total control throughout, striking five boundaries and three sixes, but it was perhaps his patience under pressure in the middle of the innings that was most impressive.

He didn't do it all on his own, however, with Ferguson continuing the dream start to his international career with a brilliant 55 not out off 35 balls.

Having joined Haddin at the crease at 70 for four, the pair put together an unbeaten 98-run stand to give the innings some impetus.