Fleming happy to do a job
New Zealand are the first team through to the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy and the former winners are looking forward to testing themselves against some of the stronger teams as the tournament draws towards its climax.
The Black Caps, who won the competition in 2000 when it was held in Kenya, booked their place after beating Pakistan by 51 runs and will be joined by either Pakistan or South Africa from Group B.
The match bore huge significance for New Zealand’s skipper, Stephen Fleming, was not only named man of the match, but also broke the world record with his 194th appearance as captain of the team, passing Sri Lankan Arjuna Ranatunga’s record of 193.
The record will take some beating as the only current captain close to catching Fleming is Australian Ricky Ponting, with 127 games as leader.
The 33-year-old Kiwi celebrated the milestone in style in Mohali, making a gritty 80 as he battled his way through until the 37th over as wickets fell all around him.
Despite the knock, he was still looking for an improvement in his batting.
“I’m not batting as well as I can but I’m happy to get the job done. I have managed to do the job,” said Fleming.
“There are periods where you are in great form. To me, when you are not batting that well and still grind out scores - that is the most important thing.
“We're now at the business end of the tournament. Australia and India are in the contention. Even the West Indies have done well recently,” he added.
New Zealand went into the game knowing a defeat would have virtually ended their chances of qualifying.
The second semi-finalist from the group will be the winner of Friday’s match between Pakistan and South Africa.
Pakistan were poor against Fleming’s men, and their coach Bob Woolmer was critical of their error-strewn performance.
“We made too many mistakes,” he said.
“We lost wickets, just made too many mistakes with the bat, with the ball and unfortunately in the field.”