Chris Martin and Daniel Vettori took three wickets apiece to lead the New Zealanders to a sizeable first-innings lead in the drawn tour match against Zimbabwe A in Bulawayo. Zimbabwe A were dismissed for 241, 103 runs behind New Zealanders' first-innings score of 344 for 8.
Martin struck an early blow for his team, bowling Hamilton Masakadza in the ninth over with Zimbabwe A on 17 for 1. Graeme Aldridge got the other opener, Tino Mawoyo, in the next over before another run had been scored. There was some resistance from the middle order, though, as Regis Chakabva made 40 and Malcolm Waller 66.
Once Waller was dismissed, however, with Zimbabwe A 183 for 6, the tail folded quickly. Vettori finished with 3 for 35, while Martin took 3 for 31. Aldridge chipped in with 2 for 40 as well.
The New Zealanders sent Vettori to open with BJ Watling, to give him some batting practice ahead of the Test. Vettori scored 32 off 37 balls as New Zealanders made 49 for 0 before the game ended. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealanders 344/8 (90 overs; Williamson 86*, Utseya 3/75) & 49/0 (12 overs; Vettori 32*, Watling 16*), Zimbabwe A 241 (70.5 overs; Waller 66, Martin 3/31). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]
Early in the game, Mashonaland Eagles seemed certain to win this one, but Midwet Rhinos showed plenty of fight as they secured a draw on a game that went down to the final ball and could have gone either way. Rhinos posted 321 in their first innings after being put in to bat, lead by Gary Ballance's 83 and Solomon Mire's 96 - a decent score, but kept in check by an impressive bowling performance from relative newcomer Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa, who took 5/89. In reply, Stuart Matsikenyeri's 144, added to strong contributions from Sikandar Raza (68) and Peter Moor (65) saw Eagles reach 463, a lead of 142.
Gary Ballance again fired strongly for Rhinos in the second innings, scoring 128 (and increasing the clamour for him to make himself available for the national side), while Riki Wessels pitched in with 73 as Rhinos posted 299, leaving Eagles with a target of 158 to win on the final afternoon. Rather than play for the draw, Eagles went for the win, but very nearly came unstuck as Rhinos' bowlers tore their way through the Eagles lineup, Gumunyu-Manatsa again leading the charge with 4/46, and Eagles found themselves facing the final ball of the day requiring 4 to win with just 1 wicket left. There were no winning runs for Eagles, no last-gasp wicket for Rhinos, as the game ended in a draw, but it really couldn't have been any closer, and it's unfortunate for Rhinos that the rules of this year's competition saw them leave with no point for their fighting effort. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 321 (96.4 overs; Mire 96, Gumunyu-Manatsa 5/89) & 299 (100.2 overs; Ballance 128, Gumunya-Manatsa 4/46), Eagles 463 (126.5 overs; Matsikenyeri 144, Chinouya 4/75) & 154/9 (27 overs; Chakabva 54, Rainsford 3/39). Match drawn.
Matabeleland Tuskers' good start to the season continue with an emphatic win over Southern Rocks in the latest round fo Logan Cup matches. Put into bat after Tuskers won the toss, Rocks made hard work of their first innings, with only captain Alester Maregwede (50*) putting on a decent knock as his side were bowled out for 148. Glenn Querl, back from playing for Unicorns in England, took 6/38 while Keegan Meth continued to make a mark for himself with 3/54. In reply, Tuskers posted 253, taking the first-innings point and leaving Rocks with a 105-run deficit to overcome.
Overcome it they did, but while their second innings was better than their first, they still only managed a below-par 204 from their turn. This time at least, Roy Kaia (54) and Mark Vermeulen (38) joined Maregwede (37) in putting up some resistance, but once again the pairing of Meth (5/53) and Querl (3/63) proved too much for Rocks to deal with as their lower order was skittled out. Tuskers, left with a target of 100 to win on day three, had few problems chasing it down, losing only the one wicket (Brian Chari, to a run-out) along the way to a 9-wicket victory that leaves them tied with Eagles on 14 points at the top of the tournament table. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 148 (51.5 overs; Maregwede 50*, Querl 6/38) & 204 (90.1 overs; Kaia 54, Meth 5/53), Tuskers 253 (73 overs; Wheater 76, Muzarabani 3/33) & 100/1 (41 overs; Duffin 49*, Ewing 45*). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 9 wickets.
Malcolm Waller played the innings of his life which to led Zimbabwe to a one wicket victory with a ball to spare against New Zealand in the last match of the Castle ODI Challenge played at Queens Sports Club (QSC) on Tuesday. Although the victory concludes the series 2-1 in favour of the visitors, Brendan Taylor salvaged some pride from the team's performance.
Brendan Taylor was named Man of The Series after two back-to-back centuries and a half century with a total of 310 runs in the series. "It is an awesome feeling and a nice way to end the way we did. We will salvage a bit of pride from it and we will take a lot out of this. We have a little bit of momentum now. From start to finish, the guys were positive in their approach. The crowd always turns up, this one is for them and everyone who has shown up in the past," said the Zimbabwe skipper.
Black caps captain, Ross Taylor, powered his team to 328 runs with a well-deserved 119 runs from 126 balls after winning the toss and electing to bat on a typically flat QSC wicket. His knock which featured nine boundaries and three sixes, came just after Rob Nicol (14) and BJ Watling (0) were dismissed hastily in the innings. The pitch favoured the batsmen and the visitors made two land mark partnerships on it; the first being the 83-run partnership for the 4th wicket between big hitting Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor. Ryder was caught and balled by Malcolm Waller for 53 after facing 68 balls.
The second was the record fifth wicket partnership of 195 run between Taylor and Kane Williamson that took the team to such a massive total. The pair broke the New Zealand record of 148-runs for the fifth wicket set by RG Twose and CL Cairns against Australia in Cardiff in 1999. Williamson scored his second hundred in his ODI career, with an unbeaten 100 from just 94 balls. Njabulo Ncube was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with figures of three for 69 in 8.5 overs.
Zimbabwe required 6.6 runs an over to win, there was no other way of surpassing the huge total but to come out fighting -this time the men in red did so comprehensively. Openers Vusi Sibanda (0) departed in the first over. Fortunately and Zimbabwe was kept in the fight after the 100-run 2nd wicket partnership between Hamilton Masakadza (36) and in-form Brendan Taylor who chipped in with a quick-fire 75 from 65 balls. Mutizwa was also dismissed for a duck, but Tatenda Taibu's 53 from 39 balls instantly made amends for it; Taibu was caught in the 30th over with Zimbabwe still well under the required run rate.
Elton Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller put up a 112-run stand for the sixth wicket which set Zimbabwe right on course needing just 34 runs from the last six overs. Chigumbura was very aggressive punching three sixes and three boundaries for his innings of 47 off 43 deliveries. Waller played a career best innings of an unbeaten 99 from just 108 balls, hitting 10 boundaries and a six in the process.
Though Zimbabwe had a long tail, the bowlers managed to give Waller the help he needed to finish the job. Natsai M'shangwe (7) Waller's bravery hit an indispensable boundary before Luke Woodcock had him bowled. Zimbabwe needed six runs from the last over. Jacob Oram assumed his usually role as the last man to bowl, his experience under these conditions has proved vital in this series. The crowd were on the edge of their seats when Ross Taylor dropped Waller from Oram's first delivery, Waller took ran for two and then a single of the next ball to tie the scores. Price was caught the very next ball and the batsmen crossed over while the ball was airborne allowing for Waller to complete the innings with a single.
"It feels good to come out winning in this game. Taking it right through the end was very good, especially having Elton [Chigumbura] striking it the way he did. I was a bit nervous at times, but Elton took the pressure off with the big hits," said Waller, who was named Man of The Match. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 328/5 (50 overs; Taylor 119, Ncube 3/69), Zimbabwe 329/9 (49.5 overs; Waller 99*, Oram 3/44). Zimbabwe win by 1 wicket.
[Match report via ZC]
New Zealand sealed the Castle ODI series with a four wicket victory against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Saturday – the win gives the visitors a 2-0 lead with one match to be played in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
Centuries by Brendan Taylor and Martin Guptill were the highlights of the match which was a very entertaining match for the few thousands at the stadium. The good news was that Zimbabwe turned in their best batting performance of the New Zealand tour and the bowlers generally did their job well. This could have been a close match if not for the home side's fielding performance.
Zimbabwe made two changes, as Chamunorwa Chibhabha and injured Kyle Jarvis were replaced by Malcolm Waller and Keegan Meth. New Zealand however made three changes from their last starting line-up, as all-rounders Jacob Oram, Graeme Aldridge and batsman BJ Watling came in for Jesse Ryder, off spinning all-rounder Nathan McCullum and fast bowler Kyle Mills. New Zealand won the toss and opted to field, and the pitch did indeed help the bowlers early, and throughout the match had good bounce and carry. The New Zealand decision did mean that they ran the risk of having their middle-order batsmen inactive once again.
Hamilton Masakadza opened the batting with Vusi Sibanda, in the absence of Chibhabha, and both batsmen struggled to start with against tight bowling on a helpful pitch. Masakadza survived a close lbw appeal before a run had appeared on the board, and both batsmen played and missed at times, but perhaps the bowlers pitched a little too short on this type of pitch. The openers did well to put on 41 in 11 overs, but then both got out rather tamely in quick succession, Sibanda making 19 and Masakadza 20.
Brendan Taylor again looked solid, but needed a reliable partner. Tatenda Taibu was dismissed briskly, while Forster Mutizwa tried hard but could not find the form of the previous match; four wickets were down for 83 in the 25th over. The 100 came up in the 28th over. Waller was the first man to fill the job, showing some fine strokes as he ran to 42 off 43 balls. The pair added 86 in 12 overs and really turned the innings around. The 200 came up in the 41st over, but the bowlers tied Elton Chigumbura down, restricting his stroke play and removing him for 14.
Meth briefly gave his captain some good support with a rapid 20, but once again Taylor was the backbone and the Zimbabwe innings would have been a disaster without him. He had to race against the clock to reach his century before the overs ran out, but a leg glance for four in the final over made him the first Zimbabwean to score successive centuries in ODIs, this one off 103 balls. He finished unbeaten with 107 made it into the record books, matching Grant Flowers record as the only people ever to score consecutive ODI hundreds in a series; this was his sixth in total. Raymond Price pulled the last delivery of the innings for four to take the final total to 259 for eight. The most successful bowlers were Andy McKay with four wickets and Jake Oram with three.
Martin Guptill immediately went on the attack as New Zealand began their chase. Chris Mpofu was erratic and expensive, but Meth, swinging the ball both ways although only medium-paced, caused some trouble and had two close lbw appeals rejected. However he struck in the end, having Rob Nicol, who had been rather starved of the bowling, well caught at the wicket down the leg side for 9. For the first time on tour the New Zealand opening pair failed to register a century partnership; this one was a mere 49, in the eighth over.
Meth might also have dismissed Brendon McCullum without scoring, but a sharp low chance to short midwicket went down. New Zealand kept up the attack and the 50 came up in the tenth over. For a while Zimbabwe did a fine job in keeping McCullum under restraint, but just before the 100 came up (in the 21st over) Chigumbura missed a hard return catch from him. A few minutes later Waller put down another chance from McCullum in the deep. McCullum’s 50 took him as many as 75 balls, unusually slow for him.
Meth returned with the shine gone from the new ball and immediately went for 16 in his first over – though this would not have been the case had Waller not dropped an identical chance, again from McCullum, to the one he spilled earlier. Guptill reached a well-earned century, but McCullum, who must have thought by now that any aerial shot was safe, was well caught by Sibanda at backward point, cutting, off Meth. He made 87, and Zimbabwe’s chances had all gone by now with the score 206 for two.
All this time Guptill had been plugging away responsibly at the other end, playing a sound game and aiming to be there at the finish. However, just after losing Ross Taylor for 11, he had a lapse of concentration and was bowled aiming a big hit at a ball from Waller and yorking himself for 105. He faced 121 balls, hit nine fours, and left with the score on 222 for four. Meth took the best figures of two wickets for 52 runs. Zimbabwe managed to compete with New Zealand in batting and bowling in this match, but the fielding was a big let down. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 259/8 (50 overs; Taylor 107*, McKay 4/53), New Zealand 261/6 (48.2 overs; Guptill 105, Meth 2/52). New Zealand win by 4 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]
The first ODI in the Castle Challenge between Zimbabwe and New Zealand resembled, for Zimbabwe, an unpleasant one. There was one superb partnership under high pressure between Brendan Taylor and Forster Mutizwa that rescued Zimbabwe from a truly disastrous start to their innings, only for their bowlers to follow it with another poor performance that allowed the opposition to make light of their target yet again.
Taylor’s outstanding fighting century was in vain, although at least it did prolong the match and saved Zimbabwe from what could have been a low total.
Zimbabwe welcomed back Vusi Sibanda and Tatenda Taibu to the team, while New Zealand were without Jake Oram due to illness. Zimbabwe’s decision to bat on winning the toss caused some comment, given the fact that the team batting second at Harare Sports Club has a much better victory record than those going in first. In good sunny weather on a shaven pitch, it would have been a fair enough decision, as long as the batsmen were mentally up to it.
The first two overs quickly showed that Zimbabwe’s top order was not mentally attuned to the task this time. They seemed incapable of handling very accurate bowling that included many deliveries outside the off stump, which the batsmen could choose either to attempt to score from or to leave. The preference was for leaving, which Chamu Chibhabha and Sibanda did to excess, with the result that the batting stagnated. At one stage the score was 7 for two wickets after six overs; when Taibu lashed a ball to extra cover with faulty footwork, to be brilliantly caught by Kyle Williamson, the score was 21 for four off 11 overs. Doug Bracewell had three of them very cheaply.
Zimbabwe managed to find two men who responded to the crisis magnificently in partnership. Brendan Taylor, perhaps aware of his need to put right his decision at the toss, was the first batsman to show initiative and the ability to handle the situation, and he began to get the score moving through some good shot selection and running. He found the ideal partner in Forster Mutizwa. He settled in to play with calmness and skill, and in a remarkably short time the whole aspect of the game had changed and the batsmen were in control.
As the runs flowed at about five an over, the first cracks began to show in the hitherto almost faultless tourists. Taylor was dropped twice in quick succession, a return catch to McCullum when on 48 and at long-off at 52, the ball bursting through the fielder’s hands and going for six. The only other fault of the pair was the lack of good running at times, partly because Mutizwa tended to be very cautious. The stand finally came to an end when Mutizwa, with 69 off 98 balls, reached for a wide half-volley from James Franklin and edged it to the keeper. The pair had put on 152 in 31 overs and, apart from the sheer number of runs, the way they saved a disastrous situation makes this one of finest partnerships in international cricket. Sadly, it was to be in vain.
Taylor soon lost Elton Chigumbura, but he went on the reach his fifth ODI century off 108 balls in the 47th over; this one competes with that against South Africa for his best. He then felt free to go for his strokes; Bracewell, seemingly invincible at the start of the innings, went for three sixes in four balls, 21 off this the penultimate over. He finished with an unbeaten 128 off 120 deliveries, with seven fours and five sixes. The total was 231 for six, an amazing turnaround from 21 for four. Bracewell still finished with the best figures of three for 55.
Rob Nicol this time opened the New Zealand innings with Martin Guptill, rather than Brendon McCullum, but the product was the same – free strokes and swift run-scoring. They took 51 off the first six overs, mainly from Kyle Jarvis, who kept straying to leg and paid the penalty; his six eventual overs cost 59 runs. In fact none of Zimbabwe’s seamers bowled particularly well, unable to put any pressure on the batsmen by consistent line and length, and the batsmen climbed in to capitalise. This was the third successive century opening partnership in three matches by New Zealand against Zimbabwe, and it proved to be the highest, ending only on 153 when Guptill failed to clear the long-on boundary and was caught there for 74 – off the occasional medium-pace of Masakadza, who thus took more wickets in the match than he scored runs.
Brendon McCullum was hardly the man Zimbabwe wanted to see coming in next, and once again he was in prime form. The next landmark was recorded by Nicol, who achieved the rare feat of a century in his first ODI. This follows his century for Mashonaland Eagles against Mid-West Rhinos in Kwekwe last Saturday. As victory approached the scoring rate dropped, as Nicol became very cautious on the verge of his century and McCullum tried to give him the strike and support to help him over the line. Finally he swung a ball from Mpofu over midwicket to reach the landmark, and from there New Zealand sped to victory with almost seven overs to spare. Nicol was unbeaten with 108, McCullum with 39. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 231/6 (50 overs; Taylor 128*, Bracewell 3/55), New Zealand 232/1 (43.3 overs; Nicol 108*, Masakadza 1/13). New Zealand in by 9 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]
Alistair Campbell has stepped down from his position as chairman of selectors with immediate effect.
Since his appointment to the post in July 2009, Campbell has had the dual responsibilities of both convener of selectors and chairman of the ZC board's cricket committee. He expressed the desire to concentrate on his activities with the Cricket Committee as well as his work as a cricket commentator.
"It has been the greatest of pleasures to select the sides that have spearheaded Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket and I feel now that it would be best to concentrate my expertise on governing the structure of the game as part of the cricket committee. I have every confidence in the panel I leave behind and look forward to watching teams that are a true representation of the vast amount of talent and experience we have in this country," said Campbell.
Campbell will be replaced by former wicketkeeper batsman Wayne James. James played four Tests and eleven One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe and will join Kevin Curran and Givemore Makoni on the selection panel.
It was a batsman's day at Harare Sports Club for the second and final Twenty20 match and, when Zimbabwe looked likely to suffer another heavy defeat, Chamu Chibhabha led a thrilling assault on the bowling so that the home side could at least go down with all guns blazing and lose with honour. Chibhabha's 65 off 39 balls was, in its way, the best innings of the day, as it was made off better bowling than the New Zealand batsmen had to face, and under more pressure, well as Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill batted for their fifties. It was a pity this fine match - 15 sixes were hit, some truly massive - was played before a comparatively small crowd, due to its being played on a weekday and suffering from unreliable weather.
Zimbabwe played Chris Mpofu instead of Regis Chakabva, while Forster Mutizwa kept wicket. They won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat, understandably after the disappointment on Saturday. Unfortunately this did not help them as the knocks given to the bowling this time was, if anything, more intense this time.
It was the first of many sixes in the New Zealand innings, reduced to 18 overs due to a rain shower. McCullum and Guptill found the gaps, picked up balls off a good length for six, and left the Zimbabwe bowlers quite helpless even to contain them. McCullum took 31 balls for his fifty and Guptill 37. Zimbabwe finally got a wicket when McCullum was bowled attempting a scoop off Jarvis; his 64 came off only 37 balls and he hit two fours and six sixes. The opening pair had put on 120 in 11 overs.
So well did the innings continue that New Zealand must have entertained hopes of reaching 200, but the bowlers did manage to pull it back a little at the end. Guptill made 67 and Jesse Ryder 30 not out, the final total being 187 for three off the 18 overs. Jarvis took both wickets to fall to the bowlers for 36, but no bowler went for less than eight and a half an over. Utseya got the most blows from McCullum that his three overs went for 45 and he completely lost his pitch. At the fielding was fairly good, with no catches dropped. Zimbabwe needed to score at more than ten runs an over to win.
Zimbabwe's batsmen, however, had learned something since Saturday's game. They lost their two best batsmen, Hamilton Masakadza (9) and Brendan Taylor (1), early on, but then Chibhabha and Elton Chigumbura launched a thrilling assault on the bowling, mainly by powerful driving. For a while it was the New Zealand bowlers who felt the cosh, as the pair added 57 in six overs. Chigumbura led the way with 39 off 22 balls, a better rate of scoring than any of the New Zealanders had managed, before falling to a fine return catch by Nathan McCullum. Zimbabwe were then 84 for three in the tenth over. Amid the assault the New Zealand bowlers and fielders kept their heads and eventually broke through.
Charles Coventry fell to a soft dismissal, but Mutizwa proved a good partner for Chibhabha, who ran to his fifty off 34 balls. He then launched into the bowling of Nathan McCullum, hitting him for two big sixes, but the bowler responded well, having him stumped by his brother in the same over for 65, with four fours and five sixes. The required rate was now over 15, but Mutizwa continued the fight until a hesitation over a third run led to his dismissal for 22. Utseya, having a bad match, was involved in two run-outs in successive balls, following which the last two batsmen, hitting out, both went first ball to Doug Bracewell. The last four wickets thus fell remarkably in four balls with the total remaining on 154, but at least some of Zimbabwe's top batsmen had done their team proud on this occasion. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 187/3 (18/18 overs; Guptill 67, Jarvis 2/36), Zimbabwe 154 (16.5/18 overs; Chibhabha 65, N McCullum 3/23). New Zealand win by 34 runs (D/L method).
[Match report via ZC]
Mashonaland Eagles did visiting Kiwi Rob Nicol a favour at the weekend and included the member of the touring New Zealand side in their team for the match against Midwest Rhinos, and immediately reaped the rewards. Whether franchise sides should be helping visiting players out in this way is another thing... After winning the toss and opting to bat, Nicol - opening for his 'adopted' side - put on 102, top-scoring for the match, while fellow overseas player Ryan Bishop (76) and back-in-form Stuart Matsikenyeri (80) helped the side to an imposing 308/5 from their 50 overs. Mike Chonouya took 3/67 for Rhinos, but with his 10 overs going for nearly 7/over he still won't have been too pleased with his spell.
That left Rhinos with a battle on their hands, but rather than fight they meekly capitulated to the Eagles' bowling. Rememberance Nyathi (34) and Riki Wessels (33) put up some fight - the psir added 64 for the 4th wicket - but that was about the only fight from the Rhinos as they were bowled out for 169, handing Eagles a 139-run win that extended their lead at the top of the tournament table to 8 points, with only 3 rounds of the tournament played. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 308/5 (50 overs; Nicol 102, Chinouya 3/67), Rhinos 169 (35.4 overs; Nyathi 34, Garwe 3/39). Mashonaland Eagles win by 139 runs.
Matabeleland Tuskers probably thought that they'd set s good enough target in their Pro50 match against Southern Rocks - batting first after being put in by Rocks, the Tuskers managed a decent 264/9 from their 50 overs. Captain Gavin Ewing led the way with 67, Steven Trenchard added 48, while Duffin, Wheater and Ervine (supposedly too injured to play in the T20 in Harare, but still putting in a showing here) all passed 30. Roy Kaia took 3/32, while Tendai Chisoro nabbed 2/43 for Rocks.
Rocks' reply got off to a horrible start, with the side 3/30 after 9 overs as the top order spluttered. But Richmond Mutumbami's 94 off 79 balls got the innings firing, and while captain Alester Maregwede, in at 6th, had to deal with wickets falling around him, he managed to add 70 off 90 balls before finally falling with 2 balls remaining in the innings - and 5 runs required to win. Last man in Tafadzwa Kamungozi then took the bulls by the horns, scoring a four to tie the scores and then one run off the final ball to secure a fighting comeback win for Rocks, who are quickly earning a reputation as a side that just doesn't give up - at least in the one-day game. Tuskers, meanwhile, won't be pleased at letting them win a match that at one point they looked certain to lose. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 264/9 (50 overs; Ewing 67, Kaia 3/32), Rocks 265/9 (50 overs; Mutumbami 94, Ncube 5/71). Southern Rocks win by 1 wicket.