WC 2003 - Pain barrier not a problem when youre doing well: Astle

Published: Sunday, March 9, 2003, 23:00 [IST]
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Bloemfontein: Nathan Astle's first World Cup hundred in seven years, which guided New Zealand to a Super Six victory over Zimbabwe on Saturday, was the kind of innings the hard-hitting batsman aims to play every time he steps up to the crease.Astle's unbeaten 102 at Goodyear Park saw New Zealand to a six-wicket win with 16 balls to spare and kept the Black Caps' hopes of a semi-final spot very much alive.It was a remarkable innings as the 31-year-old went into the match suffering from a hernia problem as well as tendonitis in his left knee, both of which will require post-World Cup surgery."I was pretty sore but the adrenalin kicks in after a while and if you're playing well you tend not to feel anything."Asked if he had consciously tried to make sure he finished the innings, Astle said, "I try to do that very time. If I stay in or get a hundred we usually win."I just tried to build partnerships and I had a big one with Chris Cairns."Astle and all-rounder Cairns' fourth-wicket stand of 121 in 151 balls ensured a Kiwi victory in a high-pressure contest.And Astle, New Zealand's leading run scorer in One-day Internationals, said the context of his 13th Limited Overs hundred gave him particular pleasure."We need to win two of our three games to get to the semi-finals. It was a must win game at the World Cup and we won it."Since making a hundred against England at the 1996 World Cup in Ahmedabad, Astle has struggled to shine at the showpiece event.His subsequent 15 World Cup innings yielded just 89 runs before he started to find his form at this tournament with 46 against West Indies and an unbeaten 54 against South Africa."My record is not something you can get away from. I've struggled in my World Cups but cricket is a funny game and it was my day today," said Astle."It was an excellent pitch to bat on, it got better as the day went on. There was a bit of life early on but it was a good cricket wicket."His knock was praised by New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming. "Like Nathan says if he stays in we usually win and his hundred was definitely one of the good things to come out of today's game."Copyright AFP 2001

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