New Zealand progress to ICC KnockOut semi-finals at the expense of Zimbabwe
New Zealand stayed calm and composed throughout to win themselves a semi-final meeting with Pakistan as Zimbabwe bowed out of the ICC KnockOut tournament, beaten by 64 runs at the Nairobi Gymkhana Club on Monday.
Set 266 for victory, Zimbabwe were still in the match 25 overs into their innings. But New Zealand refused to panic and chipped away until the Zimbabweans finally lost their nerve. They were eventually bowled out for 201 and could have no complaints about their defeat. On the day New Zealand were clearly the better team.
Despite brave efforts from the middle order, Zimbabwe continued to lose wickets at regular intervals in the second half of their innings. Guy Whittall made a brisk 26 off 21 deliveries before he was sent back by Stuart Carlisle after Chris Harris made a smart stop in the covers. The return left Whittall stranded and Zimbabwe on 154 for five. Whittall and Carlisle had put on 46 for the fifth wicket.
Carlisle had gone to his 50 off 68 deliveries and Zimbabwe needed him to stay at the crease until the death, but after reaching 67 he cut at Paul Wiseman and Adam Parore took the catch off a thin edge. With Zimbabwe on 168 for six and just 13 overs remaining, the match had tilted New Zealand's way.
There was still Heath Streak at the crease, however, but after hitting both Wiseman and Nathan Astle for six, he drove powerfully at Astle and the bowler held a fine, two-handed return catch. Streak's 20 had taken just 16 deliveries but with 11 overs remaining and 76 still required for victory, Zimbabwe were in trouble. Most crucially, only three wickets remained.
With Zimbabwe increasingly desperate, Harris again demonstrated his value in the field with the run out of Dirk Viljoen for 9 at 196 for eight. Paul Strang was then adjudged leg before trying to sweep Astle and Mluleki Nkala was bowled, trying to hit Wiseman to Mombassa. The wicket gave Wiseman figures of four for 45 and the innings closed after 42.2 overs.