Man-of-the-match Martin Guptill top-scored with 70 before a workmanlike performance by New Zealand's bowlers ensured a 90-run win over Zimbabwe in their
one-day international at the University Oval in Dunedin on Friday.
Guptill smashed nine boundaries in his 66-ball innings as the hosts were bowled out for 248 in the 49th over of the first of three one-dayers between the teams.
That total was more than enough for victory as Zimbabwe slumped to 158 all out in the 42nd over with Rob Nicol claiming four wickets in 25 balls.
The margain of defeat could have been far worse for the tourists but captain Brendan Taylor (58) and wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu (20) consolidated the innings after Zimbabwe had slumped to 15 for three.
Off-spinner Nicol made up for his five-ball duck in New Zealand's innings with some key wickets, including that of Taylor immediately after he had been hit out of the ground for a massive six.
New Zealand had lost two wickets in the first two overs of their innings and never really got any momentum going throughout despite forging several promising partnerships.
Guptill was the only New Zealand batsman to push on after getting a start and looked well placed for his third one-day international century before he played around a delivery from Elton Chigumbura that nipped back.
Debutants Tom Latham, the son of former New Zealand opening batsman Rod, and Andrew Ellis made promising starts to their international careers with Latham's timing and placement evident as he penetrated the small field for three boundaries in his 24.
Ellis scored 33 runs before he was bowled by Shingirai Masakadza, who finished with four for 46 off 9.3 overs. Ellis also took a wicket, caught Taylor in the deep while close to the boundary rope and claimed a run out in an eventful debut.
The second match of the three-game series will be on Monday at Cobham Oval in Whangarei, which is hosting an international match for the first time.