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Ervine's nerveless unbeaten ton sinks New Zealand

Craig Ervine scored an unbeaten 130 as Zimbabwe chased down a massive 303 to beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the first ODI in Harare.
Craig Ervine scored an unbeaten 130 as Zimbabwe chased down a massive 303 to beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the first ODI in Harare.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Zimbabwe 304-3 (Ervine 130 no) beat
New Zealand 303-4 (Taylor 112 no) by seven wickets
First One-Day International, Harare

Craig Ervine played the innings of a lifetime as his unbeaten century helped Zimbabwe chase down a massive 303 to beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the first One Day International in Harare. 

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bowl first. Tinashe Panyangara (2-50) justified the decision with the wicket of Martin Guptill (11) in the fourth over after he opened well with couple of fours.

Chamu Chibhabha (1-32) applied the brakes once again just after Kane Williamson (97) struck consecutive fours in the eighth over to pick up the wicket of Tom Latham (14) as New Zealand managed to reach only 40 for two after the first 10 overs.

After a long period of consolidation, Williamson opened up eventually to hit Prosper Utseya (0-43) in the 20th over for a six and four with the fifty-run partnership between him and Ross Taylor (112 not out) coming up in the 23rd.

Williamson also brought up the 100 for the team in the 24th over with consecutive fours off Sean Williams (0-27).

New Zealand could only meander along to 107 for two after the first half of their innings with Williamson bringing up his half-century in 64 balls. They reached 137 for two after 30 overs.

The onslaught was just beginning as Williamson raced closer to a century with two consecutive fours in the 36th from Sikandar Raza (0-15).

New Zealand had managed to almost reach a run rate of five, with their total on 175 for two after 36.

As is a pattern in Williamson’s career, he missed out on another century when Panyangara breached his defence in the 37th over, catching him short by three runs and ending his excellent 102-ball knock.

Taylor brought up his half-century in 87 balls as New Zealand reached 188 for three in 40 overs.

Taylor and Grant Elliott (43) started scoring freely after the 40th taking 15 runs in the 42nd and another 14 in the 43rd.

Chris Mpofu (0-84) went for three fours in a 13 run over in the 45th that took New Zealand to 246 for three.

The duo added 79 in 57 balls after which Elliott’s 32-ball cameo ended with a run out. 

Taylor brought up his century in just 115 balls with a four in the 49th over, scoring his second fifty in just 28 balls.

New Zealand managed 26 in the last two overs and 115 in the last 10 to reach 303 for four in their 50 overs. 

Chibhabha (42) and Hamilton Masakadza (84) set the chase on its way with a solid start as Zimbabwe made 43 for no loss after 10 overs with the fifty-run partnership coming in the 12th over.

Chibhabha’s 48-ball knock ended in the 15th when he was bowled out by Nathan McCullum (3-62) thus ending the 74-run partnership. 

Zimbabwe were falling back on the required run-rate reaching 99 for one after 20 overs. Masakadza anchored the chase bringing up his fifty in 63 balls.

Along with Ervine (130 not out) he took Zimbabwe to 169 for one after 30 overs and the 100-run partnership was brought up in the 32nd over in just 105 balls.

Zimbabwe needed 127 runs off the remaining 18 overs and Ervine brought up his own fifty in just 58 balls.

It was McCullum once again who broke the partnership in the 35th over getting Masakadza edging one to the keeper. 

Zimbabwe needed 110 off the last 15 overs and the equation came down to 88 off the last 60 balls.  

There weren’t too many big overs as Ervine and Elton Chigumbura (26) got the timely big shots.

Ervine, who played with a lot of calmness and control, brought up his well-deserved maiden ton in just 99 balls with a four off Mitchell McClenaghan (0-47) as Zimbabwe needed just 34 in the last 18 balls.

Ervine finally managed the big over hitting a six and two fours off Matt Henry (0-58) in the 48th to bring down the equation to 16 off 12 balls.

James Neesham (0-44) conceded a six and four off consecutive balls to Ervine, those blows all but sealing Zimbabwe’s victory.

Zimbabwe won, thanks to a wide in the last over, beating the World Cup runners-up by seven wickets with six balls to spare. 

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