BLACKCAPS skipper Stephen Fleming put the visiting West Indies into bat in the Twenty20 tour curtain-raiser at Eden Park.
The night is destined to be remembered as Chris Cairns’ farewell and Fleming and the departing all-rounder both acknowledged the night was a special occasion.
However, they were both keen to keep focused on the business in hand.
After winning the toss, Fleming told BLACKCAPS.co.nz columnist Gavin Larsen: “There’s huge anticipation as to what he can do in the game and also for the farewell.
“We’ve enjoyed having him here all week. It’s unusual have a guy retire and have him here with you but it’s given us a chance, not to say goodbye, but to enjoy tonight with us. I’m sure he’ll enjoy the crowds and the atmosphere that will be created for the game.”
Talking to former team-mate Mark Richardson on Sky Sports, Cairns added: “It depends what will be offered up by the cricketing god and as ling as we win, that’s all that matters.
“I’ll miss the camaraderie and the dressing room. You spend more time with thee guys than you do even your wife, but after 16 years I can’t think of a better way to go than with this group of players. They’re a wonderful group of men.”
Cairns takes his place in the BLACKCAPS side fresh from State Canterbury Wizards’ State Shield and Twenty20 double.
Fellow Wizards Nathan Astle, Peter Fulton, Brendon McCullum and Shane Bond join captain Stephen Fleming and his State Wellington Firebirds team-mates Jeetan Patel and James Franklin in the team.
State Auckland Aces duo Lou Vincent and Scott Styris play on home soil, while Hamish Marshall of State Northern Knights takes his place in the middle order.
Vice-captain Daniel Vettori and State Central Stags duo Michael Mason and Jamie How are omitted.
BLACKCAPS: Stephen Fleming (captain), Nathan Astle, Lou Vincent, Hamish Marshall, Peter Fulton, Scott Styris, Chris Cairns, Brendon McCullum, James Franklin, Shane Bond, Jeetan Patel.
West Indies: Shivnarine Chanderpaul (captain), Christopher Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Daren Ganga, Runako Morton, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Denesh Ramdin, Ian Bradshaw, Deighton Butler, Jerome Taylor.