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Record-breaking win for NZ
24 Aug 2005
By: Richard Edmunds

Zimbabwe were blasted out of contention in the first innings of the opening match of the tri-series as the New Zealand batsmen and in particular Lou Vincent put on a record-breaking display of batting, after which the Zimbabweans never had a hope of getting within 100 runs of the target.

After a delay of just over an hour due to a damp spot on the pitch, dried by the futuristic technology of a hair dryer, the toss was won by Zimbabwe who elected to field first in a match reduced to 44 overs per side. The ball became very familiar with the middle of Vincent's bat early on in the match in being dispatched for four fours and a six in the first two overs. Fleming wasn't striking the ball quite as well, hitting a few rather unconvincing shots before having a fairly easy catch dropped by debutant Anthony Ireland. That seemed to help him though, much more confident shots for two fours and two sixes followed not long afterwards as the 50 partnership for the first wicket came up just inside 7 overs. Vincent then hit another, as an expensive eighth over saw the score increase to 67/0.

Vincent brought up his fifty and the team's 100 in just the 14th over with yet another four, his milestone coming up off just 41 balls. He celebrated it with another big six over midwicket two balls later, and continued to hit the ball to all parts of the ground, but particularly through cover, and moved through to 64 from just 46. Fleming followed two overs later, his 39th fifty coming at a comparitively slow rate, his 50th run being scored from his 49th ball.

The scoring had appeared to have slowed down slightly once the fielding restrictions of the first 10 overs came off, but when Tatenda Taibu opted for the power play fielding restrictions just after the drinks break the fours and sixes started up again. The score increased to 141/0 after 18 overs, 92 of them in fours and sixes.

Taibu then decided to bring his two spinners into the bowling attack. The introduction of Gavin Ewing looked like bringing a reprieve to the Zimbabweans as he conceded just one run in his first over. Prosper Utseya at the other end gave up six from his over but encouragingly they were only five singles and a no-ball, making this the largest gap between boundaries to date in the New Zealand innings. But it didn't last very much longer before Fleming hit another massive six, this time a straight shot off Utseya, and once again there was an abundance of boundaries.

With such an attacking display of batting, records were inevitable. And sure enough they started to come. Fleming and Vincent went flying past the New Zealand record partnership for the first wicket in an ODI of 193 held by Fleming and Nathan Astle. In recording his maiden ODI century, Vincent fell just short of the New Zealand record for fastest ODI century of 75 balls, jointly held by Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan against India and Pakistan respectively. Vincent's superb ton was brought up with his fourth six and came up off 81 balls.

The partnership reached 204 in the 28th over before Fleming was finally dismissed, falling short of a century yet again as he was caught by Streak for 93, giving Ireland his first ODI wicket.

McMillan came out to join Vincent, who continued on in his six-hitting way, and McMillan joined in with several boundaries as the 250 came up in only the 34th over for the loss of just the one wicket.

It looks as though Vincent has got into a habit of bringing up milestones with sixes, as his 150 came up with his eighth six. He looked close to being out next ball as he aimed for number nine and looked to have picked out the fielder, but Craig Wishart on the boundary was forced to throw the ball away to avoid crossing the boundary. The 300 and a 100 run partnership at better than ten runs per over came up with another Vincent six as he started to threaten the New Zealand record of highest score in an ODI, 171 by Glenn Turner against East Africa in 1975.

McMillan joined in the fun, moving into the forties with his first six. Taibu would certainly be annoyed that the start was delayed due to "conditions that would be advantageous to the bowling side".

Vincent equalled the NZ record with a single and broke it the next over, again with a single. Between times McMillan went for another big hit and was caught on the boundary for 48, the scoreboard improving for Zimbabwe but still an ugly sight at 326/2. A relief to see McMillan go, but the next batsman? Chris Cairns.

Vincent's dream, and ever-increasing possibility, of being the first ever batsman to reach a double century in an ODI was ended when he was caught brilliantly in the outfield by a diving Utseya for a fantastic 172.

The team score went past New Zealand's record of 355 against India with a flurry of boundaries from Brendon McCullum, one of which was his unique paddle shot through fine leg. He hit several more fours, including 17 runs from one Blignaut over, as the score moved on to 375, the prospect of reaching 400 in the 44 overs certainly not out of the question. While McCullum was smashing boundary after boundary, Cairns was stuck at the non-striker's end. When he finally got to face a ball, he went for a big swing, didn't middle it and was caught by Masakadza on the boundary for 14, the score 380/4. But it was McCullum doing the damage, hitting a six next ball to move to 40 from just 15 balls.

13 needed from the last 6 balls to become the first team to reach 400 in an ODI. Mahwire was chosen to be the unfortunate bowler. He started well with a dot ball, but the second was smashed straight down the ground for six. 7 from 4. A dropped catch came next, two more runs, 395. A single next, fifty for McCullum from just 21 balls. Jacob Oram was left with the task of scoring four runs from the only two balls he'd face, but he went for a big hit first ball and was caught by Taylor, who was responsible for the drop earlier in the over. McCullum needed to hit a four, but could only manage a single from the last ball, so the final score was 397/5 and a record score in ODIs against a test team, with McCullum finishing on 51 not out from 22 balls.

And so the Zimbabwean openers walked out to the middle with the challenging target of 398 to win from 44 overs. As if that wasn't depressing enough, Shane Bond took the ball for the first over. Bond bowled a maiden to start with, sneaking into the upper half of the 140s in that and subsequent overs and having Brendan Taylor looking somewhat uncomfortable.

The openers successfully negotiated the first ten overs, but the score only reached 30, indicating that they had little interest in actively chasing the total. The removal of the two opening bowlers from the attack saw a slight increase in the scoring rate as Taylor hit two boundaries in the first over from Chris Cairns, and another in Oram's first over from the other end. 12 came off Cairns in his second over as the partnership for the first wicket went past 50 and Taylor started to grow in confidence.

Two difficult catches were put down in successive overs as first McCullum and then Cairns off his own bowling let the Zimbabweans off, but when Styris was presented with a simple chance off Cairns not long afterwards he took it comfortably, Taylor out for 36 and Zimbabwe 62/1. Hamilton Masakadza's innings made an exciting start as Cairns dropped another difficult chance off his own bowling first ball and a large appeal for caught behind followed the ball after that.

Thirteen runs later, Stuart Carlisle was hit on the pad by Oram and after a long pause given out LBW for 25, Oram showing impressive lung capacity with the length of his appeal before the umpire finally gave it out several seconds after the start of the appeal. Craig Wishart replaced Carlisle at the crease and didn't stay long, edging a ball from Cairns through to McCullum, his score 3 and the team's 81/3. His dismissal prompted the use of Zimbabwe's substitute, batsman Chris Coventry replacing Anthony Ireland and walking out to bat. Stephen Fleming then decided that using the substitute was a good idea, inviting Vettori on, surprisingly replacing the captain himself and taking over the captaincy for the remainder of the match.

Coventry announced his arrival in the match with two fours and a six off Cairns in an expensive over, worth 17 runs, sadly for Zimbabwe though, it was only worth four more than the required rate per over.

The introduction of Andre Adams to the attack saw another wicket fall, this time Masakadza was the victim, the method of his dismissal was again an edge through to McCullum for an easy catch, the score 111/4, which soon became 112/5 when Andy Blignaut on 1 unluckily picked out the tallest man on the field, Oram taking a jumping catch to give Vettori his first wicket. It got even worse in the next over when Coventry's exciting innings of 25 from just 19 balls came to an end, well caught on the boundary by Mills off Adams, 123/6 and a large margin of defeat looming.

Vettori added another to the wickets column when the acting captain bowled a brilliant delivery to his opposite number Taibu, totally fooling him with a straight one and hitting the top of middle stump.

Some entertainment followed, with some good shots by Heath Streak and several impressive, albeit unsuccessful swings by Blessing Mahwire, but the match had ended as a competition several hours earlier. The eighth wicket, and Daniel Vettori's third, fell when Mahwire hit an easy return catch with the team score at 165, some 232 adrift of New Zealand's score.

Streak and youngster Gavin Ewing, who was batting surprisingly low in the order considering his first class average of 41 including a double century, provided some respectability to the innings with a reasonable partnership towards the end of the innings. They put on 38 runs for the ninth wicket, taking the score past 200 runs in the process. Mills ended it though when he yorked Streak, putting an end to a rapid and impressive innings of 45 from the Zimbabwean vice-captain. The match was brilliantly ended by McCullum, who first dropped a difficult diving catch before picking the ball up and throwing a direct hit to run out Ewing for 20 and dismiss Zimbabwe for 205, giving New Zealand a 192 run win.

It was a very impressive performance by New Zealand in winning their first one day international of the year by a considerable margin. The majority of batsmen and bowlers looked in reasonably good form, although Chris Cairns could do with some practice in both by the looks, and the gap in class between the two teams was clearly evident. New Zealand's next match is against India on Friday, an interesting match against stronger opposition, although the Indian bowlers could be forgiven for feeling a little nervous watching some of the shots played by the New Zealand batsmen today.

Match Summary

New Zealand 397-5 (44 overs)
Lou Vincent 172, Stephen Fleming 93
Anthony Ireland 2-52, Blessing Mahwire 1-78

Zimbabwe 205 all out (43 overs)
Heath Streak 45, Brendan Taylor 36
Daniel Vettori 3-29, Andre Adams 2-22

New Zealand won by 192 runs.

Cricket Web Player of the Match: Lou Vincent (172)

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