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Kiwi skipper happy it's time for Napier

Napier is a lucky venue for Stephen Fleming and the captain is pleased his team have a chance to wrap up the series there.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2004 15:06 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Napier is a lucky venue for Stephen Fleming and the New Zealand captain is pleased his team have a chance to wrap up a one-day series victory over Pakistan at McLean Park on Wednesday.

New Zealand lead the five-match series 2-1 after Fleming hit an unbeaten 115 to spearhead a seven-wicket win in Christchurch on Saturday.

"I'd love to back up that century I got in Christchurch with one here," Fleming told reporters on Tuesday.

"I have had good times here. I love playing here and I enjoy batting here and it's a nice time for us to be here with the chance to win the series."

Fleming has scored one century at Napier, against Australia in 1997-98, and five half-centuries since starting with 90 against India in his first match at McLean Park as a 20-year-old in 1993-94.

The New Zealand record is also good here. The last time they played Pakistan, the hosts had an easy six-wicket victory in a low-scoring mqtch.

But one player who will not have fond memories of Napier is Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar.

The last time he played here, in 2001, Akhtar went for 16 runs in 1.3 overs before he pulled up with a knee injury.

Explosive all-rounder Andre Adams is back in the New Zealand squad at the expense of fast bowler Ian Butler.

"He (Adams) is pretty confident, which is good. We need him confident because vhat's when he plays at his best," Fleming said.

The Kiwi skipper said he was perplexed by the surprise shown when he won the toss and chose to field first in Christchurch.

"The whole concept of being surprised at bowling first on a good track doesn't wash with me any more," Fleming said.

"We chased well the other day but I honestly don't know what I'll do tomorrow if 'Inzy' (Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq) calls wrong."

First Published: Jan 13, 2004 10:09 IST