World XI~~s teamwork snatches the match from Kiwis

Published: Monday, January 24, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Wellington:World XI put their humiliating weekend drubbing behind them to beat New Zealand by three wickets here in the second One-day cricket match of the series to raise money for tsunami victims.

New Zealand had the Man of the Match in century-maker Nathan Astle but the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) World XI had strong contributions from several of their players to thank for overhauling the home side's 256-9 with more than two overs to spare on Monday.

Half-centuries from Australian Matthew Elliott and Sri Lanka's Kumara Sangakkara as well as vital contributions from Australia's Andy Bichel and Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas down the order allowed the World XI to pull ahead when it counted.

The steel of the visitors was in contrast to the series' first match in Christchurch on Saturday when a recent lack of play for several former internationals and a lack of team cohesion saw New Zealand race to a nine wicket victory in only 16.1 overs. There was no repeat of the weekend fireworks when New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming hit a whirlwind 106 off 57 balls.

Kiwi opener Astle's century provided the backbone of the New Zealand innings. He started aggressively before settling into the anchor role and batted through 44.3 overs.

Astle scored his 109 in 113 balls and hit nine fours and one six, finally being caught in the gully off the bowling of Bichel. The former Australian all-rounder was the best of the attack, finishing with 3-56 from his 10 overs.

Fans got to see more of Sri Lankan off-spinning ace Muttiah Muralitharan and his rival for title of most successful bowler in Test history -- Australia's Shane Warne -- following brutal treatment from Fleming on Saturday.

Both impressed with their skills but did not figure prominently amongst the wickets. Muralitharan took 1-46 from his eight overs while World XI skipper Warne finished with 0-44 off 10 overs.

Astle and Matthew Sinclair (30) added a valuable 82 runs for the second wicket for New Zealand.

Recalled batsman Craig McMillan scored 33, including three sixes before falling to Sri-Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya and Daniel Vettori made a quickfire 26 at the tail of the innings.

The World XI tracked New Zealand's progress in their own innings and got off to a confident start with openers Nick Knight and Elliot.

The difference in the end was the inability of the New Zealand attack to put the screws on Bichel (37 no) and Vaas (23 no) in the climactic stage of the match.

They will play the final and deciding match of the series on Wednesday in Hamilton. New Zealand Cricket is aiming to raise one million New Zealand dollars (700,000 US) for victims of the Asian tsunami from the series. A total of 752,000 NZ dollars had been raised after the second game.

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