Another 90 from Williamson helps New Zealand take series
New Zealand 273-6 (Williamson 90) beat
Zimbabwe 235 (Williams 63) by 38 runs
Third One-Day International, Harare
Kane Williamson missed out on a century but his 90 nevertheless helped New Zealand win the third and final One-Day International in Harare against Zimbabwe by 38 runs, coming from one game down to win the series.
Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bowl first. It was a slow and sedate start for New Zealand as they went to 28 for no loss after eight overs.
Martin Guptill (42) cracked consecutive fours in the ninth but John Nyumbu (2-52) applied the brakes immediately by getting Tom Latham (16) the next over.
Williamson (90) played with confidence upping the ante with a 12-run over off Chamu Chibhabha (0-20) in the 17th.
However, Guptill missed out on a half-century as his 50-ball knock was ended by Graeme Cremer (3-44) with a tossed up delivery that got Guptill’s outside edge ending the 56-run partnership.
Williamson, meanwhile, scored another brisk half-century in just 58 balls as New Zealand reached 120 for two after 25 overs.
Colin Munro (9) didn’t hang around for long, but Williamson and Grant Elliott (36) added 70 for the fourth wicket taking their team to 198 with 62 balls still remaining in the innings.
But New Zealand lost both set batsmen, Williamson victim to a terrific catch by Craig Ervine at the boundary.
It was James Neesham (37 not out) who got the quick runs after back-to-back wickets, scoring at a strike rate of 119 while Nathan McCullum (25 not out) played a useful cameo late down the order.
The duo added 50 unbeaten runs for the seventh wicket in just 25 balls almost saving their team the blushes with those extra runs eventually proving to be the difference in taking New Zealand over 250, eventually ending on 273 for six.
Cremer was the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe, who began the chase solidly with an opening partnership that almost reached a century.
Hamilton Masakadza (57) and Chibhabha (32) added 97 in 22.1 overs. They started steadily taking their team to 37 for no loss after 10 overs on a pitch that had decent bounce and some pace.
Masakadza got his fifty off 57 balls in the 18th over as Zimbabwe looked good at 84 for no loss.
Masakadza, who survived a close run out opportunity, threw his wicket away again, holing out to deep mid-wicket just after Mitchell McClenaghan (3-36) disturbed Chibhabha’s stumps.
Ish Sodhi (2-47) then got Elton Chigumbura (3) to drive one straight to cover.
Zimbabwe got back on track with a 15-run over in the 28th reaching 131 for three and needing 143 more off the next 22.
However, the promising partnership between Williams (63) and the in-form Ervine (32) was broken when the latter was run out.
Williams manned the chase from there on but lost his partners quickly as Zimbabwe slipped from 159 for three in the 33rd over to 177 for six in 37.3 overs, the last of those wickets involving a stunning McCullum catch.
The chase got some renewed direction when Williams added 35 in quick time with Cremer (14) and Zimbabwe needed 88 off the last 60 balls.
Williams brought up his fifty in just 52 balls. In an eventful 46th over, Williams struck a couple of fours, got dropped by the bowler Neesham (1-16) himself, and eventually slogged one into the deep to be out caught.
Zimbabwe, needing 50 more off the last 24, lost it eventually managing just 235, falling short by 38 runs.
McClenaghan was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand while their skipper Williamson took both the man-of-the-match and the man-of-the-series awards.
© Cricket World 2015