Elliott and Sangakkara help World XI level series
FICA World XI 257 for 7 (Elliott 57, Sangakkara 51) beat New Zealand 256 for 9 (Astle 109) by 3 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
The inclusion of Matthew Elliott and Andy Bichel boosted the FICA World XI as they completed a three-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second match of the three-match series at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.
After taking a battering in the first encounter, when lack of familiarity as a unit and jetlag cost them, the World XI scripted a splendid comeback with Elliott and Bichel leading the way. Bichel snapped up three wickets and clattered 37 in quick time at the end of the game while Elliott set the platform with a steady 57 off 67 balls.
New Zealand too put in a strong batting performance with Nathan Astle getting them off to a flier before going on to make a superbly-controlled 109 not out. Astle lost partners at regular intervals and was forced to change the rate of scoring as New Zealand ended with 256 for 9, a total they would have surely been dissatisfied with.
Stephen Fleming wasn't able to recapture his blistering form that he displayed at Christchurch, and fell cheaply for only 14. Mathew Sinclair made 30 before perishing to Lance Klusener. Chris Cairns was elevated to No.4 but Klusener and Shane Warne, the World XI captain, thwarted his attacking intent with some clever field placements and it eventually resulted in his dismissal, caught at close cover, for just 9. Hamish Marshall followed for 6 and it took a typically bullying innings from Craig McMillan, who carted 33 off 35 balls, to lift New Zealand past 250.
Both Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan were unable to weave their magic but it was Bichel who shone for the World XI. He took 3 for 56 from his 10 overs and and his crucial triple strike, when he nailed Brendon McCullum for a duck before dismissing both Astle and Jeff Wilson, frustrated New Zealand at a point when they were preparing to launch the assault.
Warne had earlier suggested that 250 would be gettable for the team batting second and Elliott and Nick Knight, who added 65 for the opening partnership, began the pursuit in rapid fashion. But they soon slumped to 111 for 3 and it got worse when Graeme Hick was trapped lbw to Daniel Vettori for 24. Jonty Rhodes had the misfortune of being run out while attempting a third run with Kumar Sangakkara, his partner, blocking his path.
Sangakkara, though, went on to score 51 in what was a vital contribution and helped swing back the momentum. He was undone by an excellent diving catch by Hamish Marshall, turning and catching the ball over his shoulder, but Bichel and Chaminda Vaas charged towards the finish line as the World XI won with 13 balls to spare.
The series decider will be in Hamilton on Wednesday with $739,189 already in the coffers as New Zealand Cricket got closer to achieving their target of $1million mark.
Meanwhile Paul Wiseman has been included in the New Zealand squad for the third match after Daniel Vettori was ruled out with a back injury. The injury will be given 48 hours to settle before it is reassessed, after which time a course of action and appropriate treatment will be determined.