New Zealand secured a dramatic five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the final Twenty20 international yesterday to condemn the visitors to a winless tour.
Kane Williamson (20) scored 14 runs in the final over to seal the win with just two balls to spare after half-centuries from openers James Franklin (60) and Rob Nicol (56).
The result capped a dismal tour for Zimbabwe, who proved competitive in two Twenty20 matches, but were outclassed by New Zealand in a one-off Test and three one-day internationals.
The tourists saved their best performance for the final match, choosing to bat after winning the toss and scoring 200-2, their best ever Twenty20 score, at Hamilton’s Seddon Park.
Determined to finally break the shackles, opener Hamilton Masakadza (62) and captain Brendan Taylor (75) anchored the innings, but they fell just short after Williamson, in only his third Twenty20 international, steered the Black Caps home.
Zimbabwe’s Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri made a 76-run opening partnership, the first time the tourists’ openers have managed a stand exceeding 50 runs on the entire tour.
Zimbabwe’s bowlers also produced a much-improved performance, with Kyle Jarvis taking two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over and Elton Chingumbura finishing with figures of 2-23.
New Zealand’s batting proved too strong as makeshift opener Franklin produced a man-of-the-match display.
New Zealand began their run chase tentatively, taking seven overs to bring up 50, but the Black Caps then stepped up the pace and plundered 49 runs from the next three overs, before Chigumbura dismissed Nicol for 56.
Franklin was looking threatening, before falling to a superb run out from Keegan Meth, who hit the stumps side-on from the boundary as the batsman scrambled for a second run.
Chigumbura slowed New Zealand’s momentum further when he skittled Colin de Grandhomme for 8, leaving the home side needing 41 off 20 balls.
The tourists looked set for an upset win when Jarvis dismissed New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and his brother Nathan to bring debutant Andrew Ellis to the crease, but Williamson secured the strike and hit a four off the second ball of Shingi Masakadza’s over, following up with a six, then ensuring victory with another boundary.