New Zealand

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New Zealand Edge Zimbabwe in Thriller

New Zealand became only the 3rd team to win a T20 International chasing 200+, and in the process dashed Zimbabwe's chances of salvaging a consolation win from their disastrous Kiwi tour. Batting first, Zimbabwe has reached an impressive 200/2, with Brendan Taylor (75* off 43 balls) and Hamilton Masakadza (62 off 42) both claiming fifties - by far the most impressive batting performance of the tour, and a score that in most T20 matches would have been enough to secure victory. But New Zealand have been dominant all tour, and weren't about to lie down - especially when they'd already proven in the preceding matches that they had the mark of the Zimbabwean bowlers.

To their credit, they kept the Kiwi run rate to around the required rate for the full innings, and took their chances when they came - a remarkable direct-hit throw from the boundary saw Keegan Meth claim James Franklin's scalp by runout after he'd top-scored for NZ with 60 (from 37 balls); Elton Chigumbura struck on his first ball to remove Nicol while also taking the scalp of former Zimbabwean Colin de Grandhomme (who also found himself on the receiving end of some "comments" from a chatty Ray Price; and Kyle Jarvis took 2 wicketes in 2 balls in the penultimate over to put some late pressure on the home side. But Taylor's tactic of changing bowlers almost ever over never seemed to gain much in the way of results - and handing the ball to Shingi Masakadza in the final over with NZ requiring 14 to win when Shingi had only bowled 1 other over in the match (which went for 16) seemed risky. Sure enough, two fours and a six later the match was over, and Zimbabwe were left to rue how close it had been. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 200/2 (20 overs; Taylor 75*, Hira 1/31), New Zealand 202/5 (19.4 overs; Franklin 60, Chigumbura 2/23). New Zealand win by 5 wickets.

Zimbabwe Finally Show Some Fight Despite 1st T20I Loss

Zimbabwe are still without a win on this tour, and still facing an inquiry into their performances when they get back home, but the first T20 international against New Zealand finally saw some fight - at least from Hamilton Masakadza (53 from 36 balls) and Elton Chigumbura (48 from 24 balls), who helped see their side to a halfway-respectable 159/8 from their 20 overs. It wasn't enough, unfortunately, as the usual bowling woes that this series has seen allowed New Zealand to chase the target with time to spare - with Guptill (91* off 54 balls) carrying his bat for the innings, no Zimbabwean bowler went for less that 8.5/over, and Jarvis - the only wicket-taker - went for over 10/over. Hardly impressive, but credit for there finally being some promising signs. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 159/8 (20 overs; H Masakadza 53, Bates 3/31), New Zealand 160/3 (16.5 overs; Guptill 91*, Jarvis 2/32. New Zealand win by 7 wickets.

New Zealand Complete ODI Series Whitewash

Zimbabwe-born substitute fielder Colin de Grandhomme helped heap further humiliation on his former countrymates in the 3rd and final ODI between Zimbabwe and New Zealand, as Zimbabwe slumped to a 202-run loss - the largest margin of the series. Led by Brendan McCullum's 88-ball 119, the home side reached a massive 373/8 in their 50 overs, treating the Zimbabwean "attack", further blunted no doubt by the demoralising effect of this series, with complete disdain. In reply, Zimbabwe could muster only 171 before they were bowled out, with Brendan Taylor (65) being the only stand-out performance in another pitiful display. de Grandhomme played a part in three of the wickets, catching both Taylor and Tatenda Taibu and contributing to the run-out of Malcolm Waller. Zimbabwe's players and fans will be glad the ODI portion of the tour is over - but there are still two T20 Internationals to come, which could yet heap further ignominy on the side. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 373/3 (50 overs; M McCullum 119, Jarvis 2/58), Zimbabwe 171 (44 overs; Taylor 65, Williamson 2/13). New Zealand win by 202 runs.

New Zealand Seal ODI Series With 2nd ODI Win

The Blackcaps sealed the three-match series against Zimbabwe with a game to spare. Ignited by a high quality 146 from opener Rob Nicol, the New Zealanders racked up a formidable 372 for six at Cobham Oval in Whangarei before completing victory by a crushing margin of 141 runs. The third highest one-day score on record for the New Zealanders proved far too much for Zimbabwe, who responded with 231 for eight as the Blackcaps took a 2-0 lead into the third and final match at Napier on Thursday.

After rain delayed the start by 35 minutes Zimbabwe had the better of the early exchanges when only 10 runs came from the opening five overs. But that was as good as it got for the tourists because it was then all New Zealand as Nicol and Martin Guptill set the tone with an excellent first wicket stand of 131 inside 24 overs. Guptill was in imperious touch before his fourth consecutive one-day half-century ended on 77 when he drilled a ball from spinner Ray Price to mid wicket where Shingirai Masakadza took a fine catch on the run just inside the boundary rope.

Guptill was again clinically efficient as he dominated the early scoring to such a degree that the team’s 50 came with Nicol on nine, but the latter began hitting his straps then had the luxury of biding his time when the home side promoted Jacob Oram from No 8 to first drop and called for the batting power play from overs 25 through 29. The 33-year-old left-hander responded with his first half-century since the 2009-10 season, striking 35 of the 44 runs scored during the power play before reaching his 50 off only 23 balls. He performed his pinch hitting role to perfection to plunder 59 off 28, with five fours and four sixes, before holing out seeking more after having delivered a blunt reminder of his enduring quality with bat in hand.

Nicol, in just his fifth one-day international, raised his second century at the top level during an excellent fifth wicket stand of 92 with 19-year-old Tom Latham before hitting four more sixes to lift his haul to six to go alongside 10 fours. Two of the maximum strikes were audaciously played, when he fetched a ball well outside off from Elton Chigumbura and planted it over square leg, which was the same destination for a sweetly timed flick off his pads. With runs flowing at the other end for a large portion of his 134-ball stay Nicol rotated the strike and paced his innings nicely before departing when on the charge in the 49th over with the fifth highest one-day score by a New Zealander.

Latham, too, prospered after being dropped on 14, and showed impeccable timing and an ability to invent as he hit five fours and two sixes in a 28-ball 48 before falling in the final over. The last five overs produced 86 runs, 25 of them coming in the 48th from seamer Kyle Jarvis.

Zimbabwe, who lost the opening match of the series by 90 runs in Dunedin, were always up against it despite Cobham Oval presently an excellent batting strip offering consistent pace and bounce. The exercise quickly became an academic one as Zimbabwe’s top order frailties were again exploited, with Kyle Mills, Tim Southee and Oram combining to immediately extinguish any hopes the tourists had of at least challenging the hosts.

Just as he did in Dunedin, Mills collected two top order wickets, including captain Brendan Taylor, who fell to a top edge as the visitors took another walk down Struggle Street at 17 for three after 6.5 overs. They could not find their way to safer ground either as Oram backed up his performance with the bat to remove Regis Chakabva leg before wicket and Malcolm Waller to an edge behind. At 62 for five, Zimbabwe were out of the contest, which they acknowledged as Tatenda Taibu and Chigumbura contented themselves with pitch occupation as the 100 was raised in the 30th over before Taibu found the boundary for the first time after facing 67 deliveries.

Taibu at least had the satisfaction of finding some form in making 50 off 76 balls while allrounder Chigumbura was more aggressive in making a 69-ball 63 containing seven fours and one six. These two collaborated in a face-saving 80-run partnership which was broken when Taibu slapped a long hop from offspinner Nicol straight to long off. Chigumbura followed soon afterwards when bowled by Oram, who completed an outstanding match double by taking three for 29 off his 10 overs.

Shingirai Masakadza, with a brisk 38, and Prosper Utseya, 27 not out, saw Zimbabwe past 200 with a stand of 64 for the eighth wicket but the only consolation for the visitors was the fact they managed to see out their 50 overs. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 372/6 (50 overs; Nicol 146, Utseya 3/71), Zimbabwe 231/8 (50 overs; Chigumbura 63, Oram 3/29). New Zealand win by 141 runs.
[Match report via ZC / NZC]

Zimbabwe Lose 1st ODI by 90 Runs

Zimbabwe would have been reasonably satisfied as their bowlers restricted New Zealand to 248 all out just short of their 50 overs thanks in the main to the lion hearted Shingirai Masakadza who used the over head conditions and changes of pace magnificently as he claimed a career best 4-46.

249 was always going to be a tall order on a bowler friendly wicket and losing the top three batsmen with just 15 runs on the board meant that Zimbabwe were always going to be hard pressed to get to a total of respectability and there is no doubt that some supporters would have had visions of another collapse similar to the first innings disaster of 51. However, Brendan Taylor continued his remarkable form against New Zealand as he passed 50 for the fourth consecutive time against New Zealand in one day international cricket before holding out to long on for a fluent 58, which included one of the biggest struck sixes seen at the ground.

But Taylor had no real support from the top and middle order as Tatenda Taibu got a start but then got out for 20 and when Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura followed for 12 and 15 respectively, the writing was on the wall. Had it not been for Raymond Price who frustrated the black caps by scoring an unbeaten 26 batting at number 10, the visitor's total would have been appalling.

This was another disappointment for the men in red but one has to single out Shingirai Masakadza who's 'never say die' attitude along with a fierce desire to take wickets for his country shows that passion and pride are still a part of the team. One can only hope that the young man’s energy and enthusiasm will rub off on the rest of the team. It would also be well advised to seriously consider preparing pitches with more pace and bounce back home which will not only benefit and improve techniques of the countries batsmen, but will also encourage fast bowling instead of the flat and unresponsive pitches currently been used. It would be very disappointing to be in the same boat as teams from the sub-continent who thrive in their home conditions but more often than not flatter to deceive when going on tour. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 248 (48.3 overs; Guptill 70, S Masakadza 4/46), Zimbabwe 158 (41.1 overs; Taylor 58, Nicol 4/19). New Zealand win by 90 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Zimbabwe Slump to Record Loss

Zimbabwe recorded their largest-ever defeat in Tests against New Zealand at the weekend, losing by an innings and 301 runs on day three - after most of day two had been lost to rain. An innefectual bowling display allowed New Zealand to reach 495/7 before declaring early on day three; the hosts then went on to humiliate Zimbabwe by bowling them out twice in the remainder of the day, first for 51 in the first innings - a new Test low for Zimbabwe, "beating" the 54 they recorded against South Africa in their last away Test - and then for 143 in the second innings, where at least Regis Chakabva (63) discovered some fight to get the score into double-figures. Chris Martin led the bowling figures for New Zealand, taking a combined 8/31 in the match. A beaten and bruised Zimbabwe now move on to the ODI series, which starts at Dunedin on Friday. Full scorecard - which doesn't make for pretty reading - is below the cut.
New Zealand 495/7 decl (123.4 overs; Taylor 122, Watling 102*, Cremer 2/112), Zimbabwe 51 (28.5 overs; Waller 23, Martin 2/5) & 143 (f/o; 48.3 overs; Chakabva 63, Martin 6/26). New Zealand win by an innings and 301 runs.

NZ Tour Opener Drawn

As usual, the 13-a-side tour match between Zimbabweand and New Zealand XI turned into a bit of practice, mostly for the hosts, before petering out to a draw. NZ XI got off to a shaky start in their first innings, losing two early wickets for 6 runs before the middle order settled and pushed on to 272/7 before declaring; while Zimbabwean's reply, which saw them reach 329 before being bowled out, will have done Regis Chakabva's chances of selection for the Test match no harm - he top-scored with an unbeaten 89. NZ XI seemed to get the measure of the Zimbabwean bowlers in the second innings, though, with only one wicket falling (Bracewell, bowled by Cremer for 26). Four others retired, to see NZ XI reach 274/5 at the close of play, securing the draw. After a good start on the first day, the Zimbabwean camp should be worried by their inability to make breakthroughs in the 2nd innings, and with the one-off Test starting on Thursday, there's not much time to work out the problem. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand XI 272/7d (73.5 overs; Watling 84, S Masakadza 2/36) & 274/5 (62 overs; van Wyk 61, Cremer 1/56), Zimbabweans 329 (107 overs; Chakabva 87*, Wagner 3/86). Match drawn.

New Zealand Edge Zimbabwe in Test Thriller

Few would have expected this match to end as closely as it did, but right down to the final session on Day Five all three possible results were very much in play. Going back to day one, though, it seems that the Queen's pitch was on course to produce a tame display, as New Zealand, batting first after winning the toss, helped themselves to what the batting-friendly pitch offered to ease to 275/3 at the close, with Martin Guptill (109) providing the backbone of the innings. Day One to the Kiwis.

Day Two saw the first of several swings in fortune, though, as Chris Mpofu worked out how to get some life from the pitch and, taking 4/92 in the innings, did the bulk of the work in bowling the visitors out for 426, a total probably 100 short of what they would have been hoping for. Ray Price took 2/118, while Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza and debutante Njabulo Ncube took one each. In reply, Zimbabwe reached 82/1 (Tino Mawoyo the man out), rounding off a day that Zim coach Alan Butcher called the side's best day of cricket since their Test return. Day Two to Zimbabwe.

Masakadza got Day Three off to a bad start for the hosts, falling without adding to the overnight score. Impressive contributions from Sibanda (93), Waller (72*) and Taylor (50)kept Zimbabwe in the chase, but a tendency to throw wickets away - and a tail that, like New Zealand's before them, didn't add much) saw Zimbabwe bowled out for 313, conceding a 113-run. Two quick wickets before the close of play, though, saw New Zealand end the day on 28/2 - not exactly the start they would have wanted. Day Three, honours even.

Day Four seemed to be reserved for when New Zealand would declare, with any lead over 300 generally expected to be good enough to deny Zimbabwe a chance of victory. Nightwatchman Patel departed early in the day, as expected, but Williamson (68) and Taylor (76) added 119 for the 4th wicket, putting New Zealand in the driving seat - briefly. A spate of quick wickets, as Kyle Jarvis took the first 5'fer since Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket, raised the prospect of the visitors being bowled out - but Ross Taylor called his side back on 252/8, setting Zimbabwe a target of 366 for victory. Some would suggest that with Chris "The Phantom" Martin being the man who did not bat, hanging around any longer wouldn't have made much difference anyway. With four sessions to reach a tempting total, Zimbabwe started off fairly cautiously, but lost Sibanda (13) early and Masakadza (19) to a silly shot on the final ball of the day. Still, despite the late losses, Zimbabwe edged the day.

The final day was straightforward on paper: New Zealand needed 8 wickets to win, Zimbabwe needed 305 runs more, and after losing only 1 wicket in the morning session (Mawoyo, for 52), whispers of "could they?" were beginning to become louder. In the afternoon session, Taylor and Taibu combined to frustrate the Kiwis further, adding another 94 runs for no loss and leaving Zimbabwe at tea requiring 101 runs for victory, with 7 wickets in hand. The departure of Taylor (117) in the first over after tea - some would say well-deserved, after a disputed appeal for a catch in shortly before tea saw Taylor saved by poor-quality replays - sparked the beginning of a Zimbabwean collapse, as the side was unable to form another partnership to see the innings through. From 265/4 at Taylor's departure, they collapsed to 331 all out, 34 short of their target. But to their credit, the side never gave up pushing for the win when many other sides would have battened down the hatches and settled for a draw, a move that seems to have earned them quite a few new fans. They may have lost, but it wasn't for lack of trying - and New Zealand certainly were given a scare they won't forget in a while. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 426 (143.3 overs; Guptill 109, Mpofu 4/92) & 252/8d (71 overs; Taylor 76, Jarvis 5/64), Zimbabwe 313 (121.5 overs; Sibanda 93, Vettori 5/70) & 331 (108.1 overs; Taylor 117, Bracewell 5/85). New Zealand win by 34 runs.

Test Match Warm-Up Drawn

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]

Brave Waller Leads Zimbabwe Victory

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]

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