August 14, 2000

Cairns, McMillan blast hundreds in Brisbane warmup

Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan blasted hundreds as New Zealand cruised to an easy 127-run win over a Queensland XI in the first of two one-day practice matches at Allan Border Field, Brisbane, today.

The matches have been arranged as preparation for the New Zealanders before they embark on a triangular one-day series against Pakistan and South Africa in Singapore starting next Sunday. Queensland have already played host to the Australian team for two matches over the past three days.

While New Zealand had a comfortable win in today's match, they suffered a blow with wicketkeeper Chris Nevin being unable to take his place behind the stumps after injuring a tendon. Nevin is being flown back to New Zealand and is out of the Singapore series. Adam Parore is replacing Nevin and will fly into Brisbane to join the New Zealand squad tomorrow morning.

NZ captain Stephen Fleming won the toss and elected to bat first. Daniel Vettori opened the batting with Chris Nevin. Usual opening batsman Nathan Astle is playing for Accrington in the Lancashire League and will join the NZ camp in Singapore later this week.

By the end of the third over both openers were back in the pavilion. Nevin made seven, while the Vettori experiment ended with his score on four, becoming Scott Muller's first victim of the day.

Muller claimed his second wicket and Queensland's third with the score on 49, Stephen Fleming (15) hitting a catch to the waiting hands of Jimmy Maher. This brought Cairns to the crease, and in Muller's next over Cairns moved into full cry with a four, a six and a six off successive deliveries. Twenty-two runs off the over saw Muller (2/56 from seven overs) removed from the attack, the second day in a row that he had taken a mauling.

The scoring was in excess of a run a ball when Roger Twose (24) was the next wicket to fall, caught behind off the bowling of Matthew Pascoe. McMillan joined Cairns and after a brief settling in period the onslaught resumed.

Cairns brought up his half-century in the 23rd over with a boundary off Lee Carseldine, having faced just 36 balls. He was severe on off-spinner Scott O'Leary, lofting him for sixes in consecutive overs.

Cairns' 100 came up on his 87th ball faced in the innings, but he failed to add to that score when he lofted O'Leary to a waiting Scott Muller. He hit seven fours and five sixes in his even hundred.

McMillan brought up his half-century off 84 deliveries in the 43rd over of the innings, but with Chris Harris as his new partner, the scoring rate simply accelerated. The final eight overs of the New Zealand innings yielded 108 runs, McMillan bringing up his hundred on the second last ball of the fiftieth over from 108 deliveries. That's 24 balls for his second fifty.

McMillan was out off the final ball of the innings for 103 (nine fours, three sixes), while Harris (38* from 23 balls, three fours, two sixes) played one of the innings that has made his reputation as one of the finest late-overs batsmen in the world.

New Zealand finished their fifty overs with a total of 7/321. Muller was the only bowler to take two wickets. Scott O'Leary (1/76 from ten overs) has yet to play for Queensland in a Pura Cup or Mercantile Mutual Cup match, and is unlikely to experience the same baptism of fire when the day of his competition debut does arrive.

From the moment that Jimmy Maher (14) was given out lbw to Geoff Allott in the seventh over, Queensland were never in the hunt. Jerry Cassell made a fine 58, and Scott Prestwidge (31, including two sixes off Vettori) played a lively innings, but at the thirty-over mark the required run rate per over was already more than 10.

Eight New Zealanders were giving bowling practice, and at least the Queenslanders can say that they lasted the full fifty overs, their score at the end of the innings being 9/194. Shayne O'Connor (3/24 from seven overs), Chris Harris (3/23 from eight) and Geoff Allott (2/26 from seven) were the best of the NZ bowlers.

With Nevin unable to keep wicket, Roger Twose donned the gloves until Queensland Second XI keeper Gavin Fitness had been summoned to take over. Fitness, in his role as New Zealand substitute keeper, found himself in the unusual situation of stumping fellow Queenslander Brendan Creevey off the bowling of Vettori.

New Zealand have one more practice match against Queensland tomorrow Tuesday. Parore is expected to keep wicket for the visitors, almost immediately after hopping off the plane.