Old foes face new heights with 100 Days To Go

Four cricket legends have taken cricket to new heights batting and bowling on top of the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge

The unconventional game of early-morning cricket saw former BLACKCAP player and captain, Stephen Fleming and former BLACKCAP Chris Harris playing against former Australian bowlers and ICC Cricket World Cup winners Andy Bichel and Damien Fleming on the 43 metre-high bridge to mark 100 days until the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 begins in New Zealand and Australia on 14 February.

Iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge

The Auckland Harbour Bridge, home of the world’s first harbour bridge bungy jump, and the only ocean touch bungy, is the most strategically important and visually impressive bridge in New Zealand carrying up to 200,000 vehicles a day, spanning the majestic Waitemata Harbour and offering panoramic views across the city and Auckland’s famous volcanic cones. 

The spectacular location did not go unnoticed by the players with Stephen Fleming, who currently coaches the Chennai Super Kings - recent winners of the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 in Bangalore – commenting he has played on the world’s top cricket grounds but never a bridge before. 

“You play your career but you don’t think about playing on a bridge!  It was definitely unusual but equally amazing batting on top of such an iconic structure. And 100 days to go until the ICC Cricket World Cup, that’s pretty special as well.”

Brisbane-based Andy Bichel, who was part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 win by Australia, says he’s used to training the Chennai Super Kings alongside Stephen Fleming in balmy India but batting on the Auckland Harbour Bridge was definitely a first. 

“It’s a privilege to come to New Zealand and play on the bridge, it’s a unique venue. The countdown to the ICC Cricket World Cup is definitely on and playing on the bridge to mark 100 days doesn’t happen every day.”

Cricketers inspired 

Chris Harris, who resides in Christchurch, and Damien Fleming from Melbourne, were equally inspired by the location, taking to the water after the game to enjoy a jet-boat ride on the Waitemata Harbour which the pair described as nearly as exhilarating as cricket on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

New Zealand co-hosts the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with Australia from 14 February until 29 March 2015. Auckland will host four games including the highly-anticipated New Zealand vs Australia match at Eden Park on 28 February; Pakistan vs Zimbabwe on 7 March, India vs Zimbabwe on Saturday 14 March and an all-important semi-final on 24 March.

In total New Zealand will host 23 out of 49 matches over the six-week tournament giving cricket fans the chance to weave in a holiday around some of country’s most beautiful locations and cricket grounds.

South Island city Christchurch will stage the tournament’s New Zealand opening on 12 February with an immersive fan experience ahead of the first match between New Zealand Sri Lanka on 14 February at Hagley Oval. 

All eyes on India

All eyes will be on India for two New Zealand games – India vs Ireland on 9 March in the Waikato city of Hamilton, and India vs Zimbabwe at iconic Eden Park in Auckland on 14 March.

In 2011, New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup with four million New Zealanders giving visitors a warm and uniquely Kiwi welcome. That same hospitality will be extended to cricket fans from regional events to in-stadia entertainment.

Thursday 6 November also marks the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy tour across New Zealand and Australia.

Auckland Backgrounder:

Rated as the third most liveable city in the world, Auckland is home to one third of New Zealanders including the world’s largest Polynesian population – a thriving multi-cultural mix infusing colour and diversity into the cuisine, music, art and culture. 

Perched between two harbours, life in Auckland revolves around the sea and the sub-tropical climate promotes the ease and enjoyment of casual coastal living, outdoor adventure and activity. 

The region’s diversity of people and place adds to the experience and within half-an-hour of the fashionable boutiques and cafés of downtown Auckland visitors can be sipping wine at an island vineyard, hiking through rainforest or walking along a black sand beach on the rugged west coast. 

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:

It is 23 years since New Zealand last hosted the Cricket World Cup and the tournament has now become one of the biggest sporting events in the world. A million people are expected to attend matches and another billion to watch on television.

New Zealand will co-host the 2015 World Cup with Australia and the 49 match schedule is set to be played from 14 February - 29 March 2015. New Zealand will play host to the 14 teams from every competing nation. The opening game will be played between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in the South Island city of Christchurch.

The tournament is a valuable opportunity to showcase New Zealand as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and further cement the country’s reputation for successfully hosting major sporting events.

Australia will host 26 games at grounds in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney while New Zealand hosts 23 games in seven cities, including Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington. The final match of the tournament will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.