Set for a spectacle
The capital city of New Zealand is home to Wellington Regional Stadium or Westpac Stadium, known to most as the Cake Tin, a moniker it lives up to in aerial views. Located in an area central to the city and next to the waterfront on Waterloo Quay, the stadium can seat 34,000 people. The ground holds the popular Rugby Sevens tournament every year and is home to the Hurricanes Super Rugby team and the Wellington Phoenix football club. The venue is multi-purpose and is also used for concerts. The Wellington School of Cricket and the New Zealand Institute of Sport are all included as part of the stadium. The ground originated from a necessity to replace the Athletic Park, which was showing its age after 100 years of action.
While Test cricket has been played for many years at Basin Reserve, near the airport, the Westpac Stadium provides better access and a larger capacity. It will provide a great spectacle for punters coming to the capital for the World Cup. The stadium has held ODIs since 2000 and is a great ground for the shorter format. It will host England in two league games, playing New Zealand first, then Sri Lanka, and a pool game between South Africa and UAE. The fourth quarter-final is also scheduled there on March 21.
New Zealand v Australia, 2nd ODI, Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, December 2005
A blistering 156 from Andrew Symonds set the tone for this thriller, with the visitors accumulating a huge 322 batting first. This proved two runs too many at the finish for New Zealand, despite great resistance from Chris Cairns and Brendon McCullum.
New Zealand v Pakistan, 5th ODI, January 2004
The home team looked to have had this in the bag before a late scare from Abdur Razzaq, whose 89 from 40 balls left the visitors just four runs short. Earlier, 80s by Hamish Marshall and Craig McMillan lifted New Zealand to 307.
Top performers in ODIs
Most runs: Nathan Astle 376 at 53.71 | Highest score: Andrew Symonds, 156 v New Zealand | Most wickets: Daniel Vettori, 19 at 29.52 | Best bowling: Shane Bond, 5 for 23 v Australia
The Wellington Firebirds represent the capital, with many fine players having played for the windy city. Firebirds have an excellent record, having won the first-class Plunket Shield 20 times in its history.