Hamilton Masakadza didn't help himself with a slow start and lumbering finish as he attempted a quick run, but his fate was sealed by Doug Bracewell who provided a speed bump by moving into Masakadza's way mid-single. Bracewell began bounding after the ball, before pulling up when he saw Andrew Ellis swoop in, stopping exactly in Masakadza's path, who now had to navigate around him. Ellis' direct hit found the batsman inches short.
With New Zealand tottering at 23 for 2 early, there was little need for Zimbabwe to be defensive. But when Martin Guptill struck his first boundary over mid-on Tatenda Taibu opted to move up to the stumps for Keegan Meth, and regretted the decision almost immediately. Guptill had another mighty slash, and the resultant edge took the top of Taibu's gloves and landed safely between keeper and slip. Had he remained in his regular position, Taibu would have gobbled up the chance, and New Zealand's eventual top scorer would have been out for 7.
The false omen
Regis Chakabva had been the only batsman to resist New Zealand in the Test, with a 63 in the second innings, but when he gifted a familiar offering to the slips off the short-of-a-length ball outside off stump that had been so devastating less than a week ago, another batting catastrophe beckoned. Brendan Taylor and Taibu though ensured the batting performance would not be quite so meek with a 52-run partnership that arrested the slide and gave Zimbabwe hope.
Kane Williamson and Guptill had not only rebuilt the New Zealand innings following early losses, they were progressing comfortably towards a competitive total at 72 for 2. But when Williamson flashed at one down the leg side off Elton Chigumbura, Taibu was certain the batsman had gloved it. He strode to the stumps and demanded his side review it, but couldn't sway captain Taylor. Replays showed there had indeed been some glove and the decision would have likely been overturned.
Few spinners would have the courage to toss the ball up immediately after being launched out of the ground, but that's what Rob Nicol did to Taylor, to brilliant effect. Nicol threw it a bit slower and wider of Taylor and induced another big shot, but this one was mistimed and was swallowed up at long-off - sheer gall accounting for Zimbabwe's star batsman and effectively sealing the match for the hosts.