Pathetic Zim throw away ODI series

HARARE - Zimbabwe put up another awful performance with the bat to lose the third ODI to New Zealand by 38 runs and succumbed to a 2-1 series defeat here yesterday.

After having won the first ODI by seven wickets last Sunday, the hosts were expected to seal their first series win against a major Test-playing nation other than Bangladesh since 2001.

But Elton Chigumbura and his team lost the second match by 10 wickets last Tuesday before yesterday’s capitulation.

Chigumbura won the toss and chose to field first restricting the touring side to 273-6 after 50 overs.

Stand-in captain Kane Williams top-scored for the Black Caps with a 90 off 109 deliveries while opener Martin Guptill was eight runs short of his 26th ODI half century when he was caught by Hamilton Masakadza off the bowling of Graeme Cremer.

Cremer was the pick of the home side’s bowlers with figures of 3-44 from his 10 overs.

Although Zimbabwe are generally poor chasers, a total of 273 was well in the home side’s reach, especially after the good start by openers Hamilton Masakadza (57) and Chamu Chibhabha (32).

Chigumbura’s poor form with the bat during this series continued when he fell cheaply after he was dismissed by Ish Sodhi for three runs.

Wickets at that stage began falling at regular intervals. Zimbabwe slumped from a healthy position of 97-1 after 22.1 overs to 159-4 after 32.6 overs.

All-rounder Sean Williams got his half century with a gutsy 63 off 62 deliveries. Hero of the first ODI win Craig Ervine was run out for 32 as he failed to make the good start count.

Mitchell McClenaghan was the Zimbabwean batsmen’s nemesis with figures of 3-34 from 8.4 overs.

“New Zealand played well, especially upfront but our batting let us down. It was a reasonable target,” Chigumbura said after the match.

“We laid the foundation and some players managed to get runs but it’s something to learn from. Pakistan are coming in six weeks’ time so we need to make sure we pull things up from where we need to learn.”

Williamson was delighted by the way his side responded from the first ODI defeat to bounce back and win the series.

“The wicket was tough and they bowled and adapted to conditions, most pleasing thing for me was learning from each game,” he said.

“We have got a strong squad and we came here looking to be as competitive as we could be in the busy schedule.

“These are stepping stones for us, there’s still the T20 left so we are looking forward to that.”

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