Cricket: Pitch invasion mars victory

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DRUNKEN supporters invaded the pitch and police made 39 arrests at the final one- day international between New Zealand and India at Lancaster Park, Canterbury, on Saturday.

Four spectators ran through the security cordon on the terraces and uprooted the wickets, disrupting play at a crucial stage of the home team's innings.

Christchurch police said yesterday that most of the arrests in the 17,552 crowd were for disorderly behaviour brought on by drunkenness. The New Zealand captain, Ken Rutherford, said the spectators running on the field were a distraction, but no more than the usual ones of people walking behind sightscreens.

'It's only a very small percentage that affect the game,' Rutherford said. 'In the end our players responded well to the crowd and the people who came along at the end of the day saw a good game of cricket.'

Chasing 222 for 6, New Zealand won by six wickets with one ball remaining to level the four-match series.