A local Rotorua cricket fan was excited to meet her heroes on Thursday when she joined captains Kane Williamson and Lasith Malinga for the pre-match coin toss on the pitch prior to the Black Caps vs Sri Lanka match at the Bay Oval in Tauranga to decide the batting and bowling order.
Lilly Madden, 8, who attends Otonga Primary School in Rotorua, won an ANZ competition to be the coin toss kid, which involved joining the two team captains on the pitch before the match.
Lilly said it was hard to pick her favourite part because everything was so fun.
"I loved getting to be on the pitch with the captains. Kane Williamson is my favourite player and I got to meet him. He signed my bat and T-shirt too, which was so cool."
Head of Sponsorship at ANZ Sue McGregor said Lilly was one of 23 young cricketers elected to take part in the pre-match ritual this cricket season.
"We are delighted to bring together the next generation of cricketers and their heroes. At ANZ we believe it's important to involve and encourage young cricketers, which is why we continue to support grassroots sports. We hope that when they meet their idols out on the pitch, they are inspired to continue training hard and pursue their dreams," she said.
The coin toss competition was one part of ANZ's long-standing support of Kiwi cricketers. Since 2009 ANZ had given more than $900,000 to help cricket players achieve their goals.
Applications are also open for an ANZ On Your Team grant. ANZ is asking what they can do to get behind your team this summer, whether it's gear you're after or a unique experience with your heroes – tell ANZ what could give you the edge.
Cricket players, clubs, teams and fans across New Zealand can apply at anzcricketworld.co.nz