Kiwis crush Zimbabwe
AHMEDABAD, (Reuters) New Zealand dominated Zimbabwe from ball one yesterday and romped to their second 10-wicket win in the World Cup but the victory probably did little in getting the team ready for the tougher battles lying ahead.
The New Zealand opening batsmen complemented the efforts of their bowlers and thrashed Zimbabwe to notch up their second World Cup win.
Paceman Tim Southee led a disciplined New Zealand bowling show to skittle Zimbabwe for 162 runs after the Africans chose to bat first in the Group A match at the Sardar Patel Stadium.
Southee bowled full and fast to pick up three wickets for 29 while captain Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills, who returned from a back injury in place of batsman Jamie How, picked up two wickets apiece.
Openers Martin Guptill (86 not out) and Brendon McCullum (76 not out) then came back and swatted away whatever Zimbabwe threw at them and reached the target in under 34 overs.
Yesterday's performance was almost identical to their 10-wicket win against Kenya, when the Kiwi pace brigade had dismantled their opponents for just 69 runs.
But New Zealand's problem has been their batting which was ripped apart by some fiery fast bowling from Australians Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait.
The Kiwis have matches against Pakistan, Canada and Sri Lanka left in the group stages and the batsmen will surely be tested hard against the Umar Guls and Lasith Malingas.
While the lopsided win against Zimbabwe denied the New Zealand middle-order batsmen from getting a workout, captain Vettori appeared content.
“I think this was the performance we were looking for. Right from the start . . . the way we bowled, the discipline we showed . . . the performance with the bat from Guptill and McCullum . . . this was what we have been looking for from a long time,” said Vettori, whose side take on Pakistan on Tuesday in Kandy.
“This is what we were after, where two guys take responsibility and that's what we need to do in the big games coming up against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.”
Both the right-handers were equally comfortable against medium pace and spin and used their feet well to deny their opponents any breakthroughs.
Zimbabwe got off to a poor start in the morning after captain Elton Chigumbura opted to bat first on a placid pitch.
The run out of opener Charles Coventry in the second over of the morning put Zimbabwe on the back-foot early and the New Zealand bowlers ensured their opponents never recovered from the setback.
The maximum damage was done within the first 15 overs of the innings when Zimbabwe lost half their side with just 46 runs on the board.
Opener Brendan Taylor (44) put up some resistance and along with Greg Lamb added 40 runs for the sixth wicket, which helped Zimbabwe get past three figures.