In their first association of the day, Elton Chigumbura and Tatenda Taibu combined to cap off perhaps the worst all-round piece of cricket of the match. Having pushed to mid-on, Martin Guptill and Rob Nicol started, stuttered then started again, giving Chigumbura plenty of time to effect the run out. Despite a dismissal almost being guaranteed at Guptill's end, the fielder threw to Nicol's end. Zimbabwe should have still got the wicket, but Taibu fumbled a straightforward collection. Better fielding teams could have dismissed one batsman, and broken the stumps at the other end for good measure.
The miss - II
Taibu and Chigumbura's second bungled dismissal could have cut Jacob Oram's devastating knock short. Hamilton Masakadza induced a top edge that flew high, and Taibu raced after it, calling for the catch as he did. Chigumbura hung back at mid-on after hearing the call, but Taibu, realising he could not get there in time, yelled for the fielder to take the catch. Too late. Chigumbura couldn't lay a hand on the ball, despite having started metres from where it eventually fell.
Rarely do promotions in batting work so well, not only in the context of the match, but as a confidence boost for the player being shunted up. Despite his batting prowess, Jacob Oram has been picked primarily as a bowler following a drastic decline in batting form over the years. His promotion yielded him a fifty at a strike-rate of over 200, and helped him reprise a few favoured shots from his early days, in what New Zealand will hope is a rediscovery of his batting talent. In 2003-04 Oram laid waste to the South African attack with a series of such stunning knocks. A week before they arrive in 2012, he seems hungry to do so again.
Having begun brightly, Zimbabwe's fielding suffered a rapid decline in standards once the batsmen began to pepper the ropes. Perhaps the most woeful of their fielding misadventures was when Kyle Jarvis dropped a sitter off Brendon McCullum in the 37th over. McCullum mistimed a cut, and the ball looped to Jarvis, who only had to put his hands in front of his face to collect the ball. He dropped it cold, and an unimpressed Brendan Taylor repositioned him elsewhere for the rest of the innings.
The belated boundary
After New Zealand's 372 for 6 featured 45 boundary hits, Zimbabwe were expected to come out playing their shots. It was not to be. After three early losses, the batsmen began to treat the lifeless Cobham Oval pitch with respect, and shelved all their shots. With the batsmen dropping like Lady Gaga singles early on, one might have wondered if Zimbabwe would hit a boundary at all. But Malcolm Waller finally did the honours in the sixteenth over, slamming Andrew Ellis past point for four.
After having combined to ruin two simple wicket-taking opportunities, Taibu and Chigumbura found a dollop of respectability with the bat, as Zimbabwe's top scorers. With five wickets down, and the target still miles away, the visitors were in danger of slumping to their worst one-day defeat ever. But Taibu and Chigumbura added 80 for the sixth wicket and provided some substance to the reply, ineffective though it was.