Guptill, Latham steer New Zealand to 10-wicket win
New Zealand 236-0 (Guptill 116 no) beat
Zimbabwe 235-9 (Raza 100 no) by 10 wickets
Second One-Day International, Harare
Martin Guptill and Tom Latham struck unbeaten centuries as New Zealand chased down a target of 236 set by Zimbabwe, winning by 10 wickets to level the three-match One-Day International series 1-1 in Harare.
Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat first. Mitchell McClenaghan (1-55) benefited from two Matt Henry (0-45) maiden overs picking up the wicket of Hamilton Masakadza (0) in his very first over in the fourth.
Chamu Chibhabha (42) counter-attacked beautifully with three fours off the next over from Henry.
Zimbabwe managed to reach 41 for one after 10 overs, in spite of seven fours by both batsmen, due to the total lack of strike rotation. Grant Elliott (2-27) broke the partnership by breaching Craig Ervine’s (12) defence.
Ish Sodhi (3-38), New Zealand’s best bowler on the day, got Regis Chakabva (2) by trapping him lbw with Zimbabwe in serious trouble at 54 for three after just 14 overs.
Things went from bad to worse when Elliott picked up his second wicket of the day, getting the skipper Elton Chigumbura (5) with a gentle away-swinger.
Sodhi got the prized wicket of Chibhabha a few overs later to push Zimbabwe to 69 for five after 18 overs.
Sikandar Raza (100 not out), who steadied the innings, was let off when on just 16, at deep mid-wicket. He stitched a 60-run partnership with Sean Williams (26) before the latter was run out.
Zimbabwe were troubled further when Sodhi got Graeme Cremer (5) in the 36th over, with the team reaching 137 for seven after 36 overs. That was followed by Prosper Utseya’s (0) wicket in the next over.
However, Raza and Tinashe Panyangara (33) added a stunning 89 runs for the ninth wicket that was only broken by the last ball of the innings.
Raza reached his half-century with a four in the 38th over. He was dropped again on 67 in the 45th over.
He made hay, hitting two consecutive sixes off Kane Williamson (0-31) in the 49th over that went for 17.
Raza brought up his century off the penultimate ball of the innings. He took just 95 balls for the three-figure score and Zimbabwe managed to close on 235 for nine after 50 overs.
New Zealand, smarting from their earlier defeat, started confidently and steadily, reaching 46 for no loss after 10 overs with five fours struck.
There was no needless attacking either as they continued the steady pace reaching 89 for no loss after 20 overs.
Guptill (116 not out) was the first to bring up his half-century, in 70 balls, his 26th. Latham (110 not out) brought his up in the next over as New Zealand crossed 100 in the 22nd over.
However, both the batsmen took off after their half-centuries giving a boost to the run-rate as New Zealand effortlessly reached 157 for no loss after 30 overs.
By then Guptill had already struck nine fours and went on to hit two more along with a six. Guptill was also the first to get to the ton, his eighth, in 116 balls.
The 200-run opening stand came up in the 38th over and in the next Latham brought up his maiden ODI century in just 106 balls.
Eventually, New Zealand cruised to the target in just 42.2 overs, with five wides offered off the last ball of the game, winning the second ODI by 10 wickets and levelling the series 1-1.
The man-of-the-match award was shared by the New Zealand openers.
The decisive third game is on Friday 7th August.
© Cricket World 2015