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Fleming, Styris help New Zealand post 274 for 7

Written by: Staff
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Mohali, Oct 25 (UNI) Leading from the front, skipper Stephen Fleming celebrated his world record landmark of being the most capped ODI captain as he, along with Scott Styris, powered New Zealand to an imposing 274 for seven in 50 overs in their crucial group'B' League match of the Champions Trophy here today.

Fleming, leading his side for the record 194 time, also achieved another landmark -- of becoming the most successful captain-batsman in the history of the game as he crossed Arjuna Ranatunga's record of 5,606.

Before this match, Fleming had scored 5531 but ended his innings with 80 to take his one day total to 5611. Playing in his 256th one dayer, Fleming justified his captainship record with a remarkable innings, which came at a time when his team needed it most.

This is New Zealand's 500 ODI and Fleming and Styris rose to the occasion to make it memorable scoring 80 and 83 respectively and also being involved in a 106-run stand for the fourth wicket.

The dew factor was the main reason for Younis Khan to opt to bowl after winning the toss and his bowlers kept the Kiwi batsmen under leash till the 40th over but in the slog overs, Pakistani bowling disintegrated as they conceded 99 runs in 10 overs taking three wickets.

Earlier, seamers Rana Naved and Umar Gul justified captain Younis Khan's decision as the duo gave Pakistan early breakthrough, scalping two wickets in quick succession to reduce the Kiwis to 23 for two in just seven overs.

Twenty two-year-old Gul drew the first blood for his side when he clean bowled Lou Vincent of his econd ball. The opener, who had scored only three runs, surprisingly lost his cool, went for a wild hit, missed the line of the ball and his off stump went flying.

Rana Naved, the 28-year-old pacer, then sent Nathan Astle back to pavilion when he had the batsman caught in the slip by Younis Khan.

Astle, who contributed 15 runs for the second wicket with Fleming, glided an outside-the-of-stump delivery only to be caught in the slip.

The Pakistan seamers continued to trouble the Kiwi batsmen but Fleming displayed tremendous concentration to keep the scoreboard moving. He put up 37 run with Peter Fulton for the third wicket before that partnership was broken by another pacer Rao Ifthkhar who trapped Fulton leg before. Fulton's contribution to the team's total was only seven and at that stage, the Kiwis were reeling at 60 fo three in 14.1 over.

Then came the Kiwi fightback as the skipper was joined by another experienced batsman, the 31-year-old Scott Styris.

The two started cautiously and took time to settle down. Run rate did slow down considerably but once they got themselves entrenched, the scoreboard started moving fast.

The kiwis start was slow. The first 10 overs of power play saw 43 runs on the scoreboard, next five povers of power play yielded only 19 runs and in the third and last five overs of power play, only 15 runs were scored.

As Fleming and Stryis started building their innings, they were also helped by lady luck and survived a scare when the score was 94 for three. Styris, who was on 16, flicked Abdul Razzaq towards square leg and charged out for a run. However, the ball was stopped by a diving Imran Farhat who threw it back to wicket keeper Kamran Akmal. Akmal needed to remove the bail but to the surprise of all, he tried to wreck the stumps with a big throw only to see it missing the target. It was the easiest possible run out chance which he missed and after that there was no looking back for Styris.

Fleming and Styris eventually put on 108 runs for the fourth wicket in 23 overs and when the partnership looked assuming dangerous propositions, spinner Shoaib Malik broke it.

Malik was brought into the attack after the 33rd over and he sent back the well entrenched Fleming, who looked all set for his hundred.

Fleming played a casual shot and Malik took a fine diving return catch to bring to end the Kiwi skipper's knock of 80 which came off 105 ball and was studded with one six and eight boundaries. At that stage, the score was 168 for four off 37.1 over.

But Styris was still there and he rose to the occasion while he was given good support by other lower order batsmen.

The Kiwis went on rampage in the slog overs as Pakistani bowling suddenly disintegrated. Styris went after the bowling and he was followed by other batsmen as the Pakistanis were sent on a leather hunt.

Jacom Oram (31, 1x6, 4x4, 26 balls) and McCullum (27,1x6,3x4,13 balls) added to the woes of the Pakistanis.

UNI

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