Martin Guptill’s domination of the Zimbabwe bowling steered New Zealand to a seven-wicket win with 19 balls to spare in the opening Twenty20.
Guptill’s imperious 91 not out off 54 deliveries, along with Kane Williamson’s 48, was the backbone of New Zealand’s 160 for three as they overtook Zimbabwe’s 159 for eight in the 17th over. The Kiwi opener has seldom been troubled by the Zimbabwe attack and his 91 was his fifth successive half-century against the tourists following scores of 51, 70, 77 and 85 in the Test and three One-Day Internationals (ODI).
His stand with Williamson put on 137 for the third wicket after New Zealand made a shaky start to their chase. Jarvis was the only successful Zimbabwe bowler taking two for 32 after his side posted 159 for eight batting first.
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor was pleased with the improvement his side showed.
“It was good to see Hamilton get back into form and set us up,” said Taylor. “It was definitely a notch up from the ODIs and we fought harder today.”
The second Twenty20, the final match of Zimbabwe’s tour, will be played in Hamilton on Tuesday.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2012.