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Kiwis canter to a comprehensive win

G. Viswanath

Zimbabwe's top order tumbles far too quickly for any meaningful recovery

HEAVES TO PERISH:Prosper Utseya is cleaned up as a Tim Southee delivery crashes into the woodwork.

Ahmedabad: New Zealand proved to be mighty and Zimbabwe, gentle and meek.

The first fifteen overs of the morning session (Zimbabwe 46 for 5) and afternoon session (New Zealand 68 for no loss) dictated the course of the match. New Zealand raised the bar in all departments and outclassed and outplayed its rival in a World Cup match watched by scattered spectators at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera here on Friday.

After a listless display by Zimbabwe, Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullim lashed out as New Zealand raced to a thundering ten-wicket victory on a firm wicket prepared by Dhiraj Parsana.

Action-packed events in the first hour precisely reflected the nature of the contest that saw the New Zealanders bring in the elements of skill and intense vigour to conquer an opponent seeming to fight its frayed nerves.

Kyle Mills and Tim Southee touch speeds around 135 kmph and caused the downfall of the top order, Daniel Vettori spilled a sitter to suggest a rare faltering moment before scalping his rival number and Regis Chakbva in a space of three balls of his opening over.

Fighting innings

With 114 internationals before this match and a good aggregate with a decent average, opener Brendon Taylor survived a player review leg before decision, saw partners abandon the scene and showed his worth with a fighting 44.

Thereafter the trio of Zimbabwe spinners, summoned to deal with a crisis situation, made its presence felt with the bat. Having slipped in the first 15 overs, Zimbabwe made a slow progress to 162, thanks to Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer's will to stand their ground.

DRS in focus

In these days of the much-debated Decision Review System (player review), the decisions handed out by umpires Marais Erasmus and Aleem Dar caused sufficient doubts in both teams. Luckily the on-field umpires were proved right when the third umpire (Rod Tucker) was consulted. But Elton Chigumbura's dismissal of the first ball send down by Vettori set off another round of fuss on the interpretation of the playing conditions related to leg before; especially, when the batsman is down the wicket and the point of impact is beyond 250 cms from the stumps and regarding the less than 40 cm rule (the distance between from where the ball has pitched to the point of impact).

Chigumbura was a long way off from his ground trying to meet Vettori's first delivery that stranded him palpably in front. The Zimbabwe captain asked for the review after checking out with Taylor. The captain's poor form continued for the third successive match; his previous scores were 14 against Australia and 5 against Canada. Two deliveries after his departure, Ross Taylor latched on to a fine catch at slip to reduce Zimbabwe five down for 46 in the 15th over.

Mills, Southee, Vettori and Bennett (run out of Charles Coventry) had caused enough damage. The Zimbabwe batsmen failed to meet the challenge.

Mills impresses

There was much interest around Mills as to how he would shape up returning to competitive cricket after a gap of one month. The most successful seamer for New Zealand after Shane Bond (147 wickets in 82 matches at 20.88), Mills (127 matches, 186 at 26.47) roared with an opening burst of seven overs, sent back Craig Ervine and then returned to remove Cremer. Southee looked even more impressive.

Tatenda Taibu struck a lovely off-drive before Vettori dropped him; but Southee won an appeal from Dar off the next ball.

The DRS confirmed Dar's decision.


Zimbabwe: B. Taylor lbw b Styris 44 (57b, 4x4), C. Coventry (run out) 0 (2b), T. Taibu lbw b Southee 8 (18b, 1x4), C. Ervine c Ryder b Mills 11 (25b, 2x4), E. Chigumbura lbw b Vettori 1 (4b), R. Chakabva c Taylor b Vettori 0 (2b), G. Lamb (run out) 18 (34b, 1x4), P. Utseya b Southee 36 (65b, 3x4), G. Cremer c B. McCullum b Mills 22 (43b, 1x4), R. Price lbw b Southee 11 (19b), T. Panyangara (not out) 4 (9b, 1x4); Extras (lb-4,w-3) 7. Total (in 46.2 overs) 162.

Fall of wkts.: 1-2, 2-27, 3-42, 4-46, 5-46, 6-86, 7-89, 8-122, 9-157.

New Zealand bowling: Mills 10-0-29-2, Southee 9.2-3-29-3, Bennett 8-0-37-0, Vettori 10-3-25-2, Styris 4-0-13-1, N. McCullum 3-0-15-0, Ryder 2-0-10-0.

New Zealand: M. Guptill (not out) 86 (108b, 7x4, 2x6), B. McCullum (not out) 76 (95b, 6x4, 2x6); Extras (lb-1, nb-2, w-1) 4. Total (for no loss in 33.3 overs) 166.

Zimbabwe bowling: Panyangara 5.3-0-42-0, Price 7-0-23-0, Utseya 6-0-23-0, Lamb 5-0-18-0, Cremer 7-0-38-0, Chigumbura 3-0-21-0.

Man-of-the-Match: M. Guptill (New Zealand) .

Corrections and Clarifications

The Sports Desk clarifies: In terms of average Mills (26.34) is behind Shane Bond (20.88). Wicket wise Mills has more wickets (188) than Bond (147). He has also played more number of matches.

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