Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum's plan as they set out in pursuit of 163 was clear - deny Zimbabwe's slow bowlers any early breakthroughs through utmost caution and attack the seamers on a placid pitch. Guptill started in a hurry against Tinashe Panyangara, smashing 14 off from his first six balls and lofting two imperious sixes as his first three overs were dispatched for 25.
Sticking to the plan, he was far more circumspect against spin at the start of his innings but kept the score ticking over with well-placed ones and twos. Batting with good sense and calm composure, he punched one into the covers to bring up a 68-ball half-century in the 22nd over and the batsmen barely broke a sweat in bringing the 100 up shortly afterwards.
He greeted Elton Chigumbura's medium pace with a crunching cover drive, and eased into the 80s with a precise cut behind point and in front of short third man off Greg Lamb. He helped New Zealand romp home to a 10-wicket win soon after, finishing the match in style with a powerful lofted drive over mid-on off Panyangara in the 34th over.
New Zealand went into this game level on points with Zimbabwe, the teams ranked fourth and fifth in Group A with one victory and one defeat each and separated only by net run-rate. Beating Zimbabwe, especially considering the sheer scale of their win, means that, in all probability they will need only one more victory to book a place in the quarterfinals, with a game against Canada in hand.