New Zealand 202-5 (Franklin 60, Nicol 56) beat
Zimbabwe 200-2 (Taylor 75no) by five wickets
Second Twenty20 International, Hamilton
Zimbabwe saved their best performance of their tour of New Zealand for the last game but were still beaten by five wickets in the second Twenty20 International in Hamilton.
Half-centuries from Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor had enabled them to post 200 for two and set New Zealand a stiff target but the home side got there with two balls to spare thanks to an opening partnership of 103 between Rob Nicol and James Franklin and then a brilliant late surge from Kane Williamson.
Coming to the crease with the score at 180 for five and needing 20 to win in nine balls, he thumped 20 runs in just five deliveries with three fours and a six to seal a clean sweep for the home side.
They had won the Test match, all three One-Day Internationals and the opening Twenty20 game convincingly.
This was, however, Zimbabwe's most convincing batting effort by a distance as Masakadza thumped 62 in 42 balls, hitting four sixes, and Taylor was unbeaten on 75 n just 43 balls. He cracked six fours and three maximums.
Stuart Matsikenyeri played a supporting role, opening the batting alongside Masakadza by hitting 32 in 19 balls as Zimbabwe took 76 runs from the first six overs.
No fewer than eight bowlers were used by New Zealand as they struggled to stem Zimbabwe's free-scoring approach and after Masakadza was dismissed, Elton Chigumbura (29 not out in 16 balls) combined with Taylor to set a new national record, obliterating their previous best of 186 for seven against South Africa in October 2010.
Nevertheless, that total still proved inadequate as New Zealand, exhibiting an experimental batting line-up with Franklin opening the batting and Nathan McCullum promoted to number five, pulled off a fine win.
Franklin blasted 60 in 37 balls, with five sixes, and Nicol hammered 56 in 37 balls, clearing the boundary four times.
Brendon McCullum continued the charge by hitting 38 in 24 balls but a brace of wickets apiece for Chigumbura and Kyle Jarvis and the run out of Franklin left the game in the balance.
Then entered Williamson, who played a stunning cameo to steal the game for New Zealand in style.
© Cricket World 2012