Guyana: Rain played spoilsport here for the second day in a row but this time assured New Zealand’s march into the Super Eights as the topper from Group B with a seven-run win over Zimbabwe via the Duckworth/Lewis method Tuesday.
Set a target of 85, New Zealand were 36 for one on 8.1 overs, with Brendan McCullum batting on 22 and Martin Guptill on six, when the rain came down heavily at the Providence National Stadium.
Even after an hour, play was not possible and had to be called off as the outfield was still wet and organisers wanted to prepare the ground for the next match. The Duckworth-Lewis method adjudged New Zealand winners by seven runs.
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New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori’s decision to bowl first, under overcast conditions, paid off as the bowlers skittled out Zimbabwe for 84 runs in 15.1 overs. Openers Tatenda Taibu (21) and Hamilton Masakadza (20) were the notable scorers for Zimbabwe.
Slow bowlers did the trick for New Zealand, as off-spinner Nathan McCullum and Scott Styris picked up three wickets each while left-arm spinner Vettori got two.
Taibu and Masakadza gave Zimbabwe a great start with their 36-run partnership, but Taibu’s departure in the fifth over triggered a collapse as they lost all the remaining wickets for just 48 runs.
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While chasing, New Zealand batsmen knew that rain clouds were not far away and McCullum took on the Zimbabwe bowlers en route to becoming the first batsman to score 1,000 runs in Twenty20 internationals.
Vettori lauded his slow bowlers for the win.
"We knew it would be a difficult track to bat with Zimbabwe having so many spinners and we did well to come back in the middle overs," he said.
Dejected Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya said his team lacked experience.
"It is disappointing. We had a good start but we didn't play well in the middle. Inexperience mattered a lot for our team. If you see in both the warm-up games, we didn't have a good start. There is potential no doubt. But some guys have to mature as cricketers," he said.