Harare - Brendon McCullum slammed an unbeaten
81 as New Zealand raced to a 10-wicket win in the first Twenty20
international against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
New Zealand bowlers set up the victory by restricting Zimbabwe to 123
for eight in their 20 overs after being sent in, with home skipper
Brendan Taylor the only batsman to shine, making 50 not out.
Opening bowler Kyle Mills and off-spinner Nathan McCullum took two wickets each in a steady New Zealand bowling performance.
McCullum and Martin Guptill (40 not out) made the target look
ridiculously easy, needing only 13.3 overs to score the required runs.
thrashed six sixes and five fours off 46 balls as he confirmed his
reputation as one of the world's most destructive hitters in the
shortest form of the game. Guptill hit two sixes and two fours and faced
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor was delighted with the
way his team played in their first competitive match since the World Cup
"When you have been out of cricket for so long, the
way we backed up the bowlers in the field was excellent. Brendon and
Martin were outstanding with the bat," said Taylor.
hit by the late withdrawals of two key players, experienced
wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu because of injury and batsman Vusi
Sibanda, whose mother died early on Saturday.
Tall seam bowler Mills struck two early blows for New Zealand, dismissing both opening batsmen inside the first five overs.
Masakadza holed out to mid-off after hitting Doug Bracewell for six in
the previous over and Chabu Chibhabha edged an attempted drive to
wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.
Taylor and Forster Mutizwa added 28 for the third wicket before Mutizwa was leg before to left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock.
Waller tried to lift the scoring rate, hitting Nathan McCullum for six,
but was caught at deep square leg in the same over. Charles Coventry
also fell playing an ambitious shot against McCullum caught at cover.
Hopes of a late flurry were dashed as three wickets fell off the final seven balls of the innings.
finished with two for 15 and Nathan McCullum took two for 17 but with
the exception of one over from James Franklin which yielded ten runs,
all New Zealand's bowlers proved difficult to score off.