New Zealand v Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI, Napier February 9, 2012

New Zealand sweep series with 202-run win

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New Zealand 373 for 8 (McCullum 119, Guptill 85, Nicol 61) beat Zimbabwe 171 (Brendan Taylor 65) by 202 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A violent opening stand and a superbly-paced Brendon McCullum ton handed New Zealand their third huge win in as many one-dayers, as Zimbabwe fell 202 runs short of their gargantuan target of 374. Martin Guptill and Rob Nicol added 153 in 22 overs to provide the platform once more, before McCullum's 88-ball 119 propelled New Zealand beyond 370 for the second consecutive innings. Brendan Taylor's 65 was the only knock of note in Zimbabwe's reply with the visitors once more opting to spend time in the middle rather than go for the unlikely win. Zimbabwe were dismissed for 172 in the 44th over.

McCullum consolidated to begin with, following the quick demise of both openers, before exploiting some woeful death bowling to hurtle past 100. Keen not to let the early tempo abate, McCullum opted for the batting Powerplay in the 29th over with Jacob Oram for company, but allowed his partner to attempt the big shots while he turned over the strike. He continued to accumulate alongside Kane Williamson, as the flat Napier wicket and a worsening Zimbabwe attack allowed risk-free progress.

McCullum got a life on 48; Zimbabwe have seemed intent on giving every New Zealand batsman one of those at some point in the series, and it must have been his turn. Having worked his way to a run-a-ball strike-rate soon after reaching fifty, McCullum exploded in the 43rd over, launching Elton Chigumbura over long-off, before carving Kyle Jarvis through cover. Zimbabwe served up full tosses, half-volleys and length deliveries abundantly, and McCullum duly gorged, slapping Chigumbura into the leg-side stands twice in a row, before demolishing the woeful Brian Vitori to complete Zimbabwe's misery.

McCullum's breathless finish was set up by Guptill and Nicol, who began laying waste to the Zimbabwe attack almost immediately, as they carried New Zealand's Whangarei belligerence to Napier. Utterly unafraid of a pedestrian attack that had failed to test them throughout the tour, the pair had seemingly decided they would test themselves - by igniting the New Zealand innings at the most furious pace yet.

Nicol survived two close calls, one lbw shout that was overturned on review, and a top-edged pull that was predictably shelled, but apart from those early stutters, precious little troubled the openers. They blasted seven sixes and 13 fours between them, and took their combined half-century tally to five in three matches. Only Nicol missed out in the first ODI of the series.

Zimbabwe's bowlers rarely bowled two balls in the same place, but their woes were not all their own making against batsmen so cocksure, they could dispatch any ball in their chosen direction. Guptill favoured the leg side as he moved around the crease to pepper the ropes with an array of sweeps, paddles, pulls and pick-ups. Nicol meanwhile preferred to manipulate length by advancing, carting two balls over the stands at square leg.

Spin and a spread-out field stymied the breakneck pace somewhat after the first 10 overs, but while Nicol reined in his game, Guptill continued to attack, beating the field with innovation rather than power. When Taylor brought in fine leg to push long-off back, Guptill shovelled the next ball over his shoulder. When the leg side was strengthened, he shuffled to leg to send the ball screeching through the covers.

Guptill was eventually stumped as he knotted himself up after advancing down the pitch, a ball after Nicol had also fallen, but McCullum's furious innings ensured the base wasn't squandered.

Williamson accumulated busily, before Nathan McCullum thumped 21 runs off seven balls - 18 of them coming from the three successive sixes off Vitori, who became only the fourth bowler to concede over 100 runs in an ODI innings, and that despite bowling one over short.

For the fifth time in as many innings on tour, Zimbabwe's openers failed to reach double figures. As has been the case throughout the tour, Taylor was the only Zimbabwe player that batted positively, even dominating the New Zealand attack at times. Taylor measured out aggression methodically, rarely straying from the routine of rotating the strike after boundary hits, instead of attempting to tear apart a disciplined attack.

Once he fell at 115 for 5, New Zealand simply stayed patient to wait for the remaining wickets. Tarun Nethula had an impressive second spell that yielded his first two international scalps, as he found the confidence to flight and turn the ball after a nervous debut. Doug Bracewell and Michael Bates were both lively, considering the flatness of the pitch, and picked up a wicket apiece, before Nathan McCullum polished off the tail to end the hopelessly one-sided series.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and has a column here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Spelele on February 10, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    @Sam Lewis: "Bring on a full strength South African side!" Hahahaha! You had me falling off my chair there mate. Phew! It's really nice to see all the Kiwis getting hyped up over thrashing a useless side like Zimbabwe and suddenly declaring themselves world beaters. But don't worry Kiwis, the true nature of this side will be revealed when SA comes around. This current NZ side will be lucky to survive a Test against SA. In fact, with SA's current riches of depth, SA might well think about playing their 'B' attack of Merchant de Lange, Parnell and Tsotsobe. Even they'd cause havoc for minnow bashers like Guptill and McCullum. Can't imagine what Steyn, Philander and Morkel will do to this lot. The moral of the story is that Kiwi fans should learn to stay humble. This victory means nothing. You can talk once you can at least manage to draw a Test match against SA. That would be something to shout about. Much better than this chest-beating over thrashing minnows.

  • Mattyblackcapsfan on February 10, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    you people that are on here whinging about how the black caps dominated zim get over yaselves nz have beaten top teams n we are becoming stronger n stronger.and by calling guptill,nicol n mccullum minnow bashers your saying that they shouldnt go out there n absolutely flog the crap they where served get real n mccullum has proven he can score big runs against so called top teams 224 v india in india ring a bell, i also dont see why u zim fans are excited bout vitori hes rubbish the bloke cant even hit the pitch,go you black caps we'll show all these ppl hatin on us wat we can do against sth africa,indian fans r just havin a sook coz lil old nz r winning games and beating aussies n there gettin there hide handed to em

  • muvati11 on February 10, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    I think one of the biggest problem with Zim is that they prepare dead wickets at home. Such strategies should be abandoned. Zim must start preparing lively wickets at home that test all their players, batsmen, pace & spin bowlers equally. Of coz Zim are by no standard close to India but the same strategy that Zim is using is what led India to be called tigers at home and pussycats away during the 90's.

  • fata7280 on February 10, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Thrashing minnows like Zimbabwe is nothing. The real test will be against South Africa. I wonder if Newzealand will stop South Africa of thrashing them 3-0 in upcomming series.

  • PsyloTim on February 10, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    How can you blame NZ for not playing top teams? It is ICC that don't organise NZ to be able to play teams like AUS and INDIA. NZ doesn't get the chance to play good teams because other teams are off playing the same old competition. And what do you expect when NZ finally gets to face a top team and loses? They don't get enough game-play!!

  • Ameega on February 10, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    Gupta.Ankur, I am not NZ supporter, but would like to ask you, what's wrong here? If India play Zim, they will do the same, and you will see a same kind of article here in cricinfo. Hitting two consecutive 370+ even against a minnow is not an east task mate.

  • dummy4fb on February 10, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    a good result for new zealand still not as big as their biggest margin of victory which was by 290 runs against Ireland in Aberdeen Scotland in 2008 as an NZ fan I am still not hopeful for the series against South Africa

  • Gizza on February 10, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    @bharatavarsha, I think India vs Zimbabwe would be a great, closely fought contest at the moment! Particularly on a grassy pitch. I think India will just edge ahead because Zimbabwe's fielding is even worse than theirs and someone like Sehwag will normally score blazing hundreds when you drop him 2-3 times. Having said that, Sehwag himself or Laxman, Rohit Sharma or Raina will probably drop Brendan Taylor a few times which will even things up. In a 50-over game both teams because of the drops will score more than 300 haha.

  • cardassian on February 9, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    Guys be fair to Zimbabwe, it's their first tour overseas in how many years? Of course they are going to struggle in foreign conditions as they aren't use to playing in them. The only way they will get used to playing in them is by touring, and I am sure they will learn a lot from this tour. As for those knocking New Zealand, remember NZ was the only non Asian team to make the semis in the world cup and just beat Aussie in Aussie (something which India could not do despite having extra chances). Maybe this NZ team is on the way up and Zimbabwe happened to run into them at the wrong time.

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    Zimbabwe is playing with just two or three international level players and they are not enough capable of beating a test playing nation even in ODIs. They should be sent down to play with teams like Namibia, Netherlands or Scotland. Even unranked Afghanistan can beat Zimbabwe without any extra effort and I can bet this thing. Such countries should not be given permission to play test cricket because it decreases the interest of people of that country in the game and such countries stop producing good players and it becomes loss of cricket. Zimbabwe stopped producing cricketers after the quit of Flower brothers and Heath Streak as that was the end of Cricket for people in that part of country

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