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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 11:14 GMT
Captains welcome Twenty20 concept
Chris Cairns and Jonah Lomu (right)
Rugby star Jonah Lomu was an interested spectator at Eden Park
Skippers Ricky Ponting and Stephen Fleming gave the thumbs up to Twenty20 cricket following Australia's win over New Zealand in Auckland.

"It was great fun. I think the fans have had a very enjoyable day," said Man of the Match Ponting.

"From the players' point of view, the game was exciting to play. Hopefully it's here to stay," Fleming commented.

"We're a little disappointed we didn't win, but we're still happy with the entertainment the game provided."

Twenty20 cricket was pioneered in England two years ago.

The first international fixture took place last summer when the New Zealand women's team beat England at Hove, but Thursday's match was the first time the format had been tried by their male counterparts.

Australia won by 44 runs after totalling 214-5 from their 20 overs, with Ponting making 98 not out off 55 balls, and then bowling out New Zealand for 170.

"We found ourselves in a bit of trouble early on, so someone had to dig in and hang around.

Ricky Ponting and Andre Adams
Andre Adams is unable to prevent Ponting taking a quick single

"As it worked out, that someone was me and I was lucky to still be there at the end, and to hit a few over the rope at the same time," said Ponting.

Scott Styris top scored for the Kiwis with 66, and he added his support to the Twenty20 concept.

"I think it has its place, it attracts the crowds that might not be the cricket purists, the younger generation," he said.

"Today was a good example, almost 30,000 was a good advert for cricket in New Zealand.

"We've had a pretty lean summer and for people to come out and support it shows it's got merit," he said.

Australia will play England in a Twenty20 game on this summer's Ashes tour, but Ponting predicted it would take time before the format became a regular part of the international calendar.

"There's still a lot of issues to be worked through with how we're going to fit it into the international programme but tonight was certainly a good start," he added.




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