Paceman Mitchell Starc has lit up a rain-ruined World Cup warm-up match in India, taking a hat-trick as weather prevented a likely Australia win over the Netherlands in Thiruvananthapuram.
Rain delayed the start of the match by five hours on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) and it was reduced to 23 overs a side, but a torrential downpour forced the abandonment of the game with the Netherlands 6-84 after 14.2 overs, chasing Australia’s 7-166.
Steve Smith followed up a 74 in the final ODI against India with a sparkling 55 off 42 balls, with Cameron Green (34 off 26), Alex Carey (28 off 25) and Starc all chipping in.
Starc, the joint-leading wicket taker in the 2015 World Cup and the outright leader in 2019, looks in fine fettle again after an injury lay-off following the Ashes series in England.
After scoring an unbeaten 24 off 22 balls, batting in the uncharacteristically high spot of six, left arm speedster Starc, who ended with 3-18 off his three overs, reduced the Dutch to 3-12 in just the third over, dismissing three batters for a first-ball duck.
He trapped Max O’Dowd lbw with the fifth ball of the opening over and then fired his next delivery through a gap between bat and pad to bowl Wesley Barresi.
After Mitchell Marsh then took the second over, Starc returned to complete his hat-trick with the first ball of his second over, thanks to a perfect yorker to uproot Bas de Leede.
Marsh (1-24 off 4.2) then bowled opener Vikram Singh for nine to reduce the Netherlands to 4-15.
The South African-born duo of Colin Ackermann (31no out off 37) and Sybrand Engelbrech added 31 before the latter was bowled by a superb delivery from the excellent Sean Abbott (1-10 off three).
Starc completed a fine all-round performance with a fine diving catch at mid-on off Marnus Labuschagne (1-27 off four) to dismiss Netherlands captain Scott Edwards.
Earlier, Australia had got off to a bad start after captain Pat Cummins won the toss, with Josh Inglis bowled for a three-ball ball duck in the second over.
But Smith and Carey put on 57 off 42 balls for the second wicket, with the left-hander playing some handsome strokes in a stylish cameo.
Glenn Maxwell perished quickly for five and once Smith.was dismissed, Green upped his personal tempo after making a slow start.
Australia play their final warm-up match on Tuesday against Pakistan.