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 for him.
“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.”
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 14th February until 29th March 2015. Auckland will host four games including the highly-anticipated New Zealand vs Australia match at Eden Park on 28th February; Pakistan vs Zimbabwe on 7th March, India vs Zimbabwe on Saturday 14th March and an all-important semi-final on 24th 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.
Christchurch will stage the tournament’s New Zealand opening on 12th February with an immersive fan experience ahead of the first match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on 14th February at Hagley Oval.
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. 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.
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 places 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.
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.