Fleming's a winner on big day

Stephen Fleming

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming © Getty Images

Captain Stephen Fleming claimed his place in the history books as New Zealand secured their place in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals.

Fleming was making his 194th appearance as captain of the Black Caps, passing Sri Lankan Arjuna Ranatunga’s record, as New Zealand beat Pakistan by 51 runs in Mohali.

He jokingly claimed the key to his record was being appointed in the first place, but added: “I’m enjoying it now just as much. Every win is still important. I’m very proud of today.”

Fleming was named man of the match after his 80 helped pin the New Zealand innings together.

He and Scott Styris, who made 86, provided the bulk of the runs as New Zealand posted 274 for seven after being asked to bat.

They shared a stand of 108 for the fourth wicket, a crucial partnership given that Pakistan had made early inroads.

Pakistan were in good shape going into the closing 15 overs of their innings, but lost six wickets for 46 runs in being bowled out for 223.

Scott Styris

Scott Styris sweeps during his innings of 86 © Getty Images

Fleming recognised that New Zealand’s batsman had struggled early on.

“We were under the pump for the first 20-25 overs when Pakistan bowled but we got through that with a little luck and then posted a pretty competitive score,” Fleming said.

“We needed something today. We’ve been pretty poor up until now.

“What it was (that turned the course of the innings) was the partnership through the middle and that’s what has been lacking.

“Every team that has won in this tournament has had a good partnership through the middle and we were desperate to do that. We had to take a bit of time but we got a good score in the end.”

Fleming was also full of praise for paceman Shane Bond, who claimed figures of 3-45 despite admitting his form has been unconvincing.

“He’s almost pushing too hard with the new ball, trying pretty hard to get those wickets for us," Fleming said.

“When he dropped down a few yards (in pace) and showed the subtleties he’s got, he’s a very good bowler.”

Bond added: “I’ve been struggling with my timing and I’ve got no consistency, so it was nice to come back and make a good contribution in the middle stages because the boys played well.”

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