Kiwis trounce Zimbabwe by 192 runs
New Zealand made mince meat of African minnows Zimbabwe, thrashing the home team by a whopping 192 runs in the first league match of the Videocon Triangular series at Bulawayo.
The match with just 44 overs per side saw the Kiwis scoring a titanic 397 - a run short of the world record set by Sri Lanka in 1995.
Lou Vincent was the wrecker-in-chief, thoroughly humiliating the Zimbabwean bowlers. He scored a record-breaking 172 runs, the highest individual score by any Kiwi batsmen.
The Zimbabwean response to the uphill task was meek and spiritless. The batters crumbled like nine pins in the face of some quality bowling opposition. Only Heath Streak's well-compiled 45 runs, stood out.
Zimbabwe was off to a slow yet assured start scoring just 30 runs in the first 10 overs. Stuart Carlisle and Taylor braved up to the New Zealand frontline paceman - Shane Bond and Mills, managing just 12 and 3 runs respectively in that period.
The next few overs produced some fireworks though with Carlisle, taking a fancy to Cairns' short-pitched bowling. However, fate dealt a cruel 'triple-blow' just when things were starting to turn rosy. Taylor was the first to go for - at the 15th over mark - trying to cut a short ball on the up. The ball ended up straight in the hands of Styris at point, who took a simple catch.
In form Carlisle was the next victim, out for 25. He was found plumb in front while trying to play across the line. Wishart, the next man in, followed soon after. He was dismissed by Cairns for just 3 runs, with the scoreboard reading 81/3 of 19 overs.
The home team were staring down the barrel!
If the first 20 overs were cutting a sorry figure, the next few overs proved to be even more disastrous. Maskadza, Coventry and Blignaut departed in quick succession. None of them looked threatening enough to build a semblance of a partnership. The score was a meager 140/6 in the 30th over.
Zimbabwe needed 19 runs off every over at this stage, which was clearly an impossible target. The batters had by this time shifted to lower gear and were trying to just defend every ball.
That, however, proved to be their downfall. Wily Vettori spun his web around the poor Zimbabwean batsmen, scalping their wickets in the process. Wicket keeper Taibu was out to a lovely arm ball, which sneaked through his defence and hit middle stump.
The next man in, Mahwire didn't last long. Vettori tossed the ball and made the batter lob it, straight back to him! The scorecard read 165/8 in the 39th over.
Only Heath Streak, at the other end, stuck doggedly for his 45 runs. The Zimbabwean innings finished as it began, with embarrassment. The whole side collapsed in the 43rd over and could just manage 205 runs.
Lou Vincent, the wrecker
Vincent's style of batting on Wednesday, was reminiscent of the great all-rounder Richard Hadlee who hit the ball equally hard. Vincent seemed to do nothing wrong, with all shots from his blade hitting the meat of the bat. Even his top-edges went over the fielder's head, comprehensively clearing the boundaries. He hit 19 boundaries, with 9 landing up outside the Bulawayo International Stadium.
The other batters chipped in too, pushing the total well over the 350 mark. Skipper Stephen Fleming made 93 towards the start of the innings. He and Vincent initiated a barrage of the shots which continued till the very end. McMillian (47) and McCullum(51), at the end, ensured that the run-rate never dropped below 8.5-mark.
Earlier, Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu made the worst mistake of his life by winning the toss and electing to field.
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