Zimbabwe v New Zealand, 1st T20, Harare October 15, 2011

Ruthless Brendon McCullum seals easy win

New Zealand 127 for no loss (Brendon McCullum 81*, Guptill 40*) beat Zimbabwe 123 for 8 (Taylor 50*, Mills 2-15) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand were playing their first international fixture since the World Cup semi-final in March but were completely at ease at the Harare Sports Club. Their bowlers showed plenty of discipline and few signs of rust in restricting Zimbabwe to 123 on a good batting pitch, and the opening pair, led by Brendon McCullum, ensured it was all one-way traffic with a dominating chase.

Asked to bat, Brendan Taylor said he was hoping for a score in the range of 160 but the early loss of the openers prompted the rest of the line-up to approach the innings with caution. Kyle Mills bowled consistently in the channel outside off and despite being smacked for a couple of boundaries, dislodged Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha in quick time. He derived a bit of movement and was aided by the aggressive intent of the openers - Masakadza tried to loft him over mid-off but was caught while Chibhabha's blind swing produced an outside edge.

The responsibility fell on Taylor to anchor the innings and while he did that admirably, he didn't find the desired support at the other end. He rotated the strike and ran well between wickets once the field spread out but for the bulk of their innings, Zimbabwe could only maintain a run-rate of a little over six when they needed much more. Forster Mutizwa, Malcolm Waller and Charles Coventry all got starts but struggled to force the pace, and lost their wickets.

The New Zealand spinners, Luke Woodcock and Nathan McCullum, didn't find any assistance in the pitch but varied their flight, lengths and pace well to prevent Zimbabwe from stepping up. They did bowl the occasional bad balls that Taylor latched onto - he dispatched Woodcock through the covers when he pitched short and slog-swept Nathan McCullum, who was also smashed for six by Waller. But, while Taylor took them on, they found success at the other end. Mutizwa was trapped in front; Waller and Coventry fell going for the big shots.

It wasn't until Elton Chigumbura joined Taylor that one felt Zimbabwe could reach a competitive total, and the pair stepped up, running twos hard and going over the top but their efforts weren't enough. On a flat pitch, their muscle-power didn't take them far and the progress of the innings that was akin to an ODI game than a Twenty20 after they lost their openers gave them a below-par score.

Brendon McCullum made them pay with a hurricane innings, backed up well by Martin Guptill. Zimbabwe missed a run-out in the first over and let off Brendon McCullum twice during his blitz, and he set about making a mockery of what their batsmen had managed. The signs were evident as early as the third over, as he charged out to Kyle Jarvis and launched him for a massive six over long-off. He showed tremendous bat speed, clipping and pulling bowlers over square leg and was perfectly at ease, making room and lofting them inside out over the covers.

Brendon McCullum tore into Jarvis upon his return later in the innings and hastened the end by smashing Chibhabha for consecutive sixes in an over that fetched 20. Guptill wasn't far behind, swinging Masakadza into the stands and finishing on a fluent 40 but it was partner who ended the game in fitting fashion, dancing down to Ray Price and sending the ball over wide long-on to leave a relatively packed Harare crowd stunned by his merciless batting.

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    I agree with Michael, especially about Milne, Wagner and Southee. Would have been the perfect chance to give Milne some exposure to the next level.Perhaps the one dayers and test will let us see a bit more of players like Coventry and Masakadza. Also I don't care who our batsmen get runs against, they need time in the middle with ball hitting bat, you still have to HIT IT!. Looking forward to the ODI's and Test. And yes GO THE ALL BLACKS...

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    All Blacks won!! Oh yeah!!!!! :D

  • duncan on October 16, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Zimbabwe couldn't win a club cricket competition. the worst bowling 'attack' i have seen in an international. And still our batsmen pull out the worst looking most agricultural shots you'll ever see to beat them. 20/20 is the death of technique and the beauty of cricket. An absolute travesty of a tour to a country run by a despotic madman. pathetic.

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    McCullum, Duminy, Pollard are all minnow bashers. Anyways Zim need to improve fast and get better openers who can match the Kiwis openers. Wonder how NZ will play on a track thats slow and turning..

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    Mc Cullum Played Well. Nice shots !

    Zimbabwe - Ve to make more partnerships so that games are not one way traffic !

    Nz - You guys ve one team which does nt seem to show their true potential. Always classy .. no too much drama like aussies or england but always good performance ! Wish u play england nd come up top !

  • rugved on October 15, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    Yep, totally agree with you Mike. It will be interesting to see how the blackcaps play in the test in these conditions. GO THE ALL BLACKS!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    Well put Michael!!!!!!!!!! :)

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    Yikes, McCullum sure likes to bully the minnows. I hope he stays in this type of form for a while, we'll need him, Guptill and Williamson to shine against South Africa in the new year because I don't trust Taylor or Ryder to do it. Would have been good to see us give Milne another chance to play, he needs as much international experience as possible, his pace will be sought in the years to come, as will Neil Wagner's and Southee's pace. Go Black Caps, and go All Blacks against Aussie tonight!!

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