Zimbabwe’s hopes were dashed as they lost to New Zealand in a tightly contested 2nd Twenty20 ODI at Hamilton.
The match came down to the wire as fans were treated to a absolute nail-biting spectacle as the two sides battled it out for the win.
Zimbabwe Captain Brendan Taylor found the match to be extremely rewarding for his team. “Tonight showed what we can do if we keep wickets in hand. We can hold our heads tonight” he said.
Zimbabwe set New Zealand a highly respectable total of 201 runs for victory, thanks to some inspired batting from opener Hamilton Masakadza, who smashed 62 runs from 42 deliveries and Captain Taylor who made 75 off 43 balls.
Michael Bates and Ronnie Hira were the only New Zealand bowlers to take wickets, claiming one each.
New Zealand started off their chase in superb fashion, with both openers, Rob Nicol and James Franklin scoring half centuries, as the two put together a first wicket partnership of 103 runs.
Franklin, who was also awarded the Man of the Match award, said: “First hit in a couple of weeks so pleased to get a few out of the middle. The first few overs were hard work but we knew that if we got through that and waited, the runs would come.”
Towards the end of the match New Zealand looked as if they were going to be defeated in their first game of the entire series, but Kane Williamson made sure that would not happen when he absolutely hammered a breathtaking 20 runs off just five deliveries to hand the hosts a five wicket victory.
Zimbabwe bowlers Kyle Jarvis and Elton Chigumbura both had two wickets in the highly contested losing effort.
Captain Taylor still took the loss as a sign of progress for the team. “The better side won, but the boys will be fairly happy with the effort” he said.
New Zealand Captain, Brendon McCullum, praised New Zealand for the intense match. “”Zimbabwe batted well tonight, they put together partnerships which put us under pressure. Happy to get the win though and to wrap up the series, a good test” he said.
New Zealand will now host South Africa and aim to carry on their dominant streak, while Zimbabwe return home for a long break.