Stadium venue for T20 play while Basin fixed

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2012

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Friday night Twenty20 cricket will grace Westpac Stadium in November while the Basin Reserve undergoes remedial work.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed its long-awaited schedule yesterday, with the T20 competition stretching from November 2 to January 21. That includes two televised matches under lights at the stadium, with Wellington hosting Canterbury on November 9 and Auckland a week later.

Domestic cricket has rarely been seen at the home of the Hurricanes and Phoenix since it opened in 1999 and it might prove a tough sell on the ticket front, with the Basin a clear favourite with punters.

The first eight weeks of the HRV Cup will feature televised Friday night matches in a deal with Sky TV - including Wellington against Central Districts at Napier's McLean Park on December 7 - before the bulk of the competition is completed during the popular holiday period. The final is scheduled for January 20. New Zealand's top players will be absent for much of the T20 competition due to the tour of South Africa which runs from December 18 to January 25.

The Basin outfield is undergoing drainage work but the ground will need to be ready for action by December 17, day one of Wellington's Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts. In the interim, Karori Park will host its second first-class match, against Central, from December 10-13.

In a schedule featuring 180 days of domestic cricket spread over 19 venues, the Plunket Shield will start early, on October 27. The Firebirds begin their campaign with three away matches, the first against Central at Napier's Nelson Park on October 28.

The Plunket Shield will end on February 23 before the Ford Trophy one-day competition begins. Wellington host Otago at the Basin in their opener on February 26.

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