Even in Zimbabwe, New Zealand has more than a commanding edge over the home team and it was evident in the first ODI. New Zealand won with nine wickets and a lot more to spare.
Zimbabwe started on a drastic note losing their 4 batsmen for just 21 runs, one more than a score or no score. Brendan Taylor had realized by then that if Zimbabwe had to reach some respectability, he needed to stay till the end. It was a highly mature innings from a Minnow player. The innings was not short of excitement as Brendan used Mutizwa’s support and hit boundaries at will. His innings changed from cautious to stirring to sparkling.
His 100 came off the 47th over. However, he broke free from there and threw Bracewell and Franklin out of gear to make 28 more off last three. Bracewell, incidentally was the major wrecker, taking the top three and celebrating his debut with aplomb. Thanks to his efforts, Zimbabwe managed just a below-par 231 despite Taylor’s unbeaten heroics. Credit must also be given to Mutizwa who made 69 and gave great support to Taylor when needed.
232 was never going to be a problem for New Zealand but it was refreshing to see a debutant help New Zealand cruise home. Rob Nicole scored a meaningful century, as Guptill opened up on the other side. They never went below 5 an over in their chase, as Guptill impatiently lost his wicket with the score on 153. Thereafter, Brendan McCullum showed characteristic hurry and won the match in 44th over. Incidentally, Nicole became only the 7th batsman to score a century on debut, Guptill being one of them.
Zimbabwe was almost happy losing and never showed any instinct to make the difference. Apart from some exciting Chigumbura deliveries, there was nothing worth reporting on their bowling side.