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Nathan Astle did the damage with ball as well as bat as New Zealand's one-day cricket match against the World XI hung in the balance here today.

Astle, after topscoring with 109 in New Zealand's innings of 256 for nine, removed dangerman Matthew Elliott for 57 in his second over to leave the visitors 138 for four after 30 overs.

The World XI were cruising along at 111 for two in the 23rd over, with former Australian opener Elliott reaching his half-century off just 47 balls.

But Astle, bowling his first over in New Zealand one-day colours for 22 months, enticed a false stroke across the line and Elliott was caught by Mathew Sinclair at mid-wicket.

Left-hander Elliott hit three fours and three sixes, two of them off paceman Kyle Mills, in his 67-ball knock.

The World XI made a flying start to their chase on a slow pitch offering few terrors.

Elliott and former England opener Nick Knight, both playing their first matches of the series, added 65 off 12.2 overs for the first wicket.

Opening bowlers Daryl Tuffey and Mills took some punishment, Tuffey going for 12 off his first over and 38 off his first five, and Mills taking one for 36 off seven.

Star allrounder Chris Cairns made the first breakthrough in his second over, fooling Knight with a slower ball which he edged to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum on 29.

Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya suffered his second consecutive failure when he hit Mills for four then next ball chipped a simple catch to backward point.

Astle inspired two quick wickets when he removed Elliott, then in-form spinner Daniel Vettori trapped Graeme Hick leg before wicket for 24 to make it 122 for four.

With 20 overs left the World XI needed another 117 to win, with Kumar Sangakkara and Jonty Rhodes at the crease.

- NZPA