Result: New Zealand (248) beat Zimbabwe (158) by 90 runs
Zimbabwe would have been reasonably satisfied as their bowlers restricted New Zealand to 248 all out just short of their 50 overs thanks in the main to the lion hearted Shingirai Masakadza who used the over head conditions and changes of pace magnificently as he claimed a career best 4-46.
249 was always going to be a tall order on a bowler friendly wicket and losing the top three batsmen with just 15 runs on the board meant that Zimbabwe were always going to be hard pressed to get to a total of respectability and there is no doubt that some supporters would have had visions of another collapse similar to the first innings disaster of 51.
However, Brendan Taylor continued his remarkable form against New Zealand as he passed 50 for the fourth consecutive time against New Zealand in one day international cricket before holding out to long on for a fluent 58, which included one of the biggest struck sixes seen at the ground.
But Taylor had no real support from the top and middle order as Tatenda Taibu got a start but then got out for 20 and when Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura followed for 12 and 15 respectively, the writing was on the wall. Had it not been for Raymond Price who frustrated the black caps by scoring an unbeaten 26 batting at number 10, the visitor's total would have been appalling.
This was another disappointment for the men in red but one has to single out Shingirai Masakadza who's ‘never say die’ attitude along with a fierce desire to take wickets for his country shows that passion and pride are still a part of the team. One can only hope that the young man’s energy and enthusiasm will rub off on the rest of the team. It would also be well advised to seriously consider preparing pitches with more pace and bounce back home which will not only benefit and improve techniques of the countries batsmen, but will also encourage fast bowling instead of the flat and unresponsive pitches currently been used.
It would be very disappointing to be in the same boat as teams from the Sub continent who thrive in their home conditions but more often than not flatter to deceive when going on tour.
Dean du Plessis.