Rain saves NZ as Zim bowlers shine

LINCOLN — Zimbabwe’s bowling department put on an outstanding effort in their first official ICC World Cup warm-up match after reducing a formidable New Zealand side to 157 for seven before rain stopped play at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln yesterday.

The only disappointment for Zimbabwe was that their batsmen were unable to get some time in the middle after the match was called off.

Zimbabwe were set a revised target of 156 off 30 overs to win, but the match was called off before they could commence their reply.

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill blasted an even 100 for the home team off 86 balls, featuring 13 boundaries and two sixes, but got little help from his teammates with only Ross Taylor (11) making double figures.

Tinashe Panyangara and Elton Chigumbura (pictured) both captured two wickets each for Zimbabwe and this will give them some confidence ahead of their last warm-up match against Sri Lanka tomorrow.

Panyangara made the first breakthrough in the opening over when Brendon McCullum, having struck two boundaries, chipped a return catch and he added the in-form Kane Williamson who drove a catch to cover.

Guptill was scoring freely at the other end and reached his 50 with a six from 34 balls, but by then Taylor had also departed to an edge, giving captain Chigumbura his first wicket.

Chigumbura then removed Corey Anderson courtesy of a fine catch by Tafadzwa Kamungozi at mid-off.

Tom Latham, who is unlikely to feature in New Zealand’s first XI, had the chance for an extended period in the middle, but after the first break for rain he fell to the legspin of Kamungozi.

Daniel Vettori was caught behind shortly before Guptill raised his 100 from 85 balls and then swiftly cut to point, the final action of the day. New Zealand’s last warm-up match is against South Africa tomorrow while Zimbabwe play Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean cricket team were equally as interested in the All Blacks coach as the country’s cricketers today.

While their Cricket World Cup warm-up match against the Black Caps was on a rain break, they were enamoured by the presence of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

The Zimbabweans asked the team’s security liaison to interrupt a conversation between Hansen and friend Mike Hesson, the New Zealand cricket coach.

They wanted to pose for photos with Hansen, who happily obliged.

“They’re apparently huge rugby fans and big, big All Blacks fans,” a Zimbabwe official said.

Hesson and Hansen have known each other for the past six years. They were part of the inaugural High Performance Sport New Zealand coach accelerator programme in 2009.

Hesson said that he “learned a lot” from the programme “and some great coaches”, including Hansen.

“We keep in touch,” he said.

“The more time you spend together the more you realise how much our jobs and the challenges are the same.”

— Agencies/Sports Reporter

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