Sun, Jan 11, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Fleming's century gives Kiwis lead in Pakistan series

AP , WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming produced an unbeaten century Saturday to lead his team to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan and a 2-1 lead in their five-match one-day series.

Fleming, who finished 115 not out, struck the winning runs from the second ball of the 47th over as New Zealand, reaching 259-3, overhauled Pakistan's total of 255-9.

The century was Fleming's fifth in 210 one-day matches and came from only 125 balls, embracing a record partnership of 148 with Hamish Marshall for the second wicket and an unbroken stand of 71 with Craig McMillan for the fourth.

Fleming carried his bat throughout the New Zealand innings to see his team home with 22 balls to spare and to its second win over Pakistan in eight recent matches.

The New Zealand captain won the toss and pressed Pakistan to bat first and took two catches, the first of which was his 100th catch in one-day matches.

He led a well-paced run chase. There was a hiccup when struggling opener Craig Cumming was out for 3 when New Zealand was only 10 but Fleming and Marshall quickly relieved apprehension of another Kiwi top-order failure.

Their partnership of 148 in 115 minutes was a New Zealand record for the second wicket against all nations, surpassing Fleming and Nathan Astle's 140 against South Africa in 2002-2003.

Marshall, pint-sized but dynamic, batted freely, reaching his third half century against Pakistan in eight matches from only 57 balls. Fleming preceded him to his 50 from only 48 deliveries with eight boundaries. The pair reached their 100 partnership from 105 balls and had set New Zealand up for a comfortable win when they were finally parted at 158-2 in the 30th over.

McMillan and Fleming teamed after the loss of Scott Styris at 188-3 to see New Zealand home. Although McMillan played with typical impertinence, enjoying an intense personal duel with Pakistan strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar, he was able to stick with his captain until the end.

He was 35 not out when the winning runs were struck, having supported Fleming for 57 minutes.

Earlier, Saleem Elahi made 80 and Abdul Razzaq an unbeaten 50 from 26 balls to carry Pakistan to 255-9 on a batsman-friendly pitch.

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