NZ collect easy victory over Zim
A dominant performance from New Zealand saw them to a crushing ten wicket victory over Zimbabwe in their World Cup Group A game at The Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Ahmedabad on Friday.
After bowling Zimbabwe out for 162 in the 47th over, New Zealand’s opening partnership of Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill saw the Blackcaps to victory without losing a wicket, with New Zealand finishing on 166 for nought.
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat, hoping that their four-man spin attack would help them defend a score later in the game.
However, their innings got off to a nightmare start when opener Charles Coventry was run out by Hamish Bennett without scoring.
Things didn’t get much better for Zimbabwe after both Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine were both dismissed cheaply, and when left-arm spinner Dan Vettori took two wickets in his first three balls, Zimbabwe were reeling at 46 for five.
There was brief resistance from opener Brendan Taylor, who top-scored on 44, but he was adjudged lbw to medium-pacer Scott Styris in the 24th over, with the score on only 86.
Struggling to post a competitive score, numbers eight and nine Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer combined for useful late-order runs, with 33 being put on for the ninth wicket, with no undue risks being taken.
However, after Cremer departed, edging Mills to wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum for 22, Utseya began attacking, and soon moved to 36.
But when Tim Southee took the final two wickets to fall, Zimbabwe were dismissed for a well-below-par 162 in 46.2 overs.
Southee was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, picking up three wickets for 29, and there were two apiece for left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori and paceman Kyle Mills.
EXCELLENT ALL-ROUND DISPLAY
It was an excellent display all-round in the field from New Zealand, as two of the wickets were run outs.
Chasing a small target of 163, New Zealand openers Guptill and Brendon McCullum set off quickly, with Guptill taking 14 from the first over of the innings.
And while Zimbabwe’s spin-heavy attack did keep runs tight, they simply didn’t have enough runs to work with, and as such, were unable to keep on top of the New Zealand chase.
Playing a pair of chanceless innings, the two Kiwi openers ended unbeaten (Guptill on 86*, McCullum on 76*) as the required runs were added without the loss of a wicket.
"It was a good partnership," said McCullum. "It was definitely made a lot easier by the way we bowled. I thought we were outstanding with the ball."
"A win like this is very good for confidence."
The win will act as a morale-booster for New Zealand after their heavy defeat to Australia last week, and will go a long way to boost their hopes of quarterfinal qualification.
"I think it's the performance that we were looking for. Now we've got to replicate that against some of the bigger nations," said New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori.
Vettori admitted their batting had been a concern going into the match.
"We thought long and hard about batting long. Brendon (McCullum) and Martin (Guptill) stood up and gave no one else an opportunity to bat, that was great."
Realistically, in order to qualify Zimbabwe needed to get a result against New Zealand, but while this defeat doesn’t end their hopes of progression, the manner of the heavy defeat will make it very difficult for them in the next few games.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura cut a sorry figure as he tried to explain his team's capitulation.
"It was a very disappointing game from us from ball one up to the end," he said.
"There are some things we are doing wrong, and we need to go back and work on them. The batting was so disappointing, every time we are losing 3-4 wickets in the first 15 overs.
"It's a game to forget quickly and move onto the next game."
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (wk), Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, James Franklin, Scott Styris, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori (capt), Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Hamish Bennett
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor, Charles Coventry, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Craig Ervine, Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Greg Lamb, Proper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Tinashe Panyangara