New Zealand thrash Zimbabwe by 27 runs

The African minnows went down fighting the Kiwis, despite some superb knocks by tail-enders - Blignaut and Coventry. Scorecard | Action Replay | Pictures

india Updated: Aug 31, 2005 22:21 IST

New Zealand overcame a fighting Zimbabwe to register a 27 run win in the fourth league match of the Videocon tri-series on Tuesday. The Zimbabwean batting line-up failed to fire and were bowled for 211 runs in 49 overs chasing a competitive target of 239 runs.

Only man-of-the-match Andy Blignaut who hit a resplendent half century and Coventry's quickfire 35 off 21 balls, got the home team within sniffing distance of the target.

Shane Bond struck gold once again, bagging four for 17.

Zimbabwe had earlier in the day dished out a much more competent and professional play and dismissed the Kiwi side for less than 240; but the hosts could not re-live the magic in their batting.

Their top order disappointed yet again, with a dreadful start to their batting innings. The first six overs saw the home team labouriously crawl to a measly 5 runs.

Even more lamentable was the fact that the side had already managed to lose two wickets in that period. Taylor trying to slash Bond's short and wide delivery, ended up edging it straight to McCullum. Next to go was debutant Chibhabha for duck, exactly mirroring his senior's dismissal. Mills was the wicket-taker this time.

Carlisle and Sibanda then restored some order and logic by garnering a firm partnership that kept the Kiwi bowlers at bay. Their alliance continued for ten more overs, before a bad judgement of a double broke it.

Sibanda was the unlucky one, out for 21 to Oram's direct hit. The scorecard read 38/3 in 16 overs.

Taibu, came in next to replace Sibanda. He put up a steady batting display and along with already set Carlisle, tried to steer the team out of trouble. Though the fours were scarce, the singles and doubles were profound.

At the end of the 26th over, the hosts had reached 69/3.

But the first ball of the 27th over dealt a cruel blow! The partnership that had looked solid by that time, crumbled under Vettori's precision bowling.

Wicketkeeper Taibu trying to cut a faster one, unfortunately dragged it onto his stumps. He walked back to the pavilion for 16 runs.

Taibu's wicket was followed by two more. Carlisle (30) bottom edged the ball onto his stumps while Streak (4) was stumped by McCullum trying to hit Vettori out of the ground.

Blignaut and Coventry, the two batters at the crease thereafter, took the matters into their own hands. Fours and sixes rained from their blades and the scoring rate rocketed upwards.

Coventry was the more prolific one and raced on to 35 off just 21 balls. But he ultimately had to pay the price of taking a risk too many. He got out with Zimbabwe needing 81 runs off last 8 overs.

Ewing replaced Coventry, but departed soon enough trying to heave it over long on. Oram ran forward and took a clean diving catch.

Mahwire joined Blignaut to the crease, who was going berserk at the other end. He especially took a liking to Bond and consistently hit him out of the park. He reached his half-century with a huge sixer off the poor bowler and that too in just 43 balls!

But he had to depart when he tried to repeat the same feat again. Bond had got his man in the second last over of the match!

Mahwire got out the next ball and it was all over. Zimbabwe could mange only 211 in 49 overs.

Spirited bowling by Zimbabwe

Earlier, battered by two humiliating defeats in a row, minnows Zimbabwe bowled the New Zealand side for 238 runs in 49.1 overs.

The last league match of Videocon tri-series between these two sides, saw a more competent and professional cricket being played by the home team.

The Zimbabwean bowlers had at the start of the innings given a rude wake up call to the opposition team, when the latter's four wickets had gone down with just 67 on board. (Continued... next page)

First Published: Aug 31, 2005 13:08 IST