Group B: New Zealand v Zimbabwe commentary

Last updated: 4th May 2010  

To sum up Zimbabwe got off to a superb start, but the run out of Masakadza derailed the innings and they lost five wickets for five runs. They never recovered, and chasing 85 to win New Zealand were always going to be in control. The rain came, then went, but we couldn't get back on so New Zealand have won by seven runs. England v Ireland is up in just a few minutes, so stick around. Ta ta.

Game over After all that, they've called it off. It's one of those typically farcical moments that cricket produces when rain intervenes, but in this case it's no great loss as the result was surely a foregone conclusion. the outfield was damper than they thought and the umpires decided they couldn't get back on in time.

Cancel that The covers have been a bit slow coming off the field so we've had another over taken off. New Zealand now need four runs to win from 11 balls.

The equation New Zealand need nine more runs to win from 17 deliveries. Everyone's just coming back out onto the field so we'll be back underway shortly, with Lamb to finish his over.

Game back on It seems a bit pointless, given that the game will be reduced to 11 overs, which means we'll come back on for 17 deliveries. New Zealand will probably need a few singles to secure victory unless they lose a wicket or two - when they came off they were four runs ahead of where they needed to be at the end of the ninth over. We're back on at 16:40 GMT.

16:20 GMT It's stopped raining and the ground staff are out doing their thing. Whether they can clean up in time for some more overs in this match remains to be seen though.

15:55 GMT We've just had some pictures from the ground, which show the rain is still falling steadily. Plenty of time before the second match though so England and Ireland needn't be too concerned. It does seem likely that they'll have a rain-interrupted match though, so expect the captain winning the toss to bowl first after last night's events.

15:35 GMT So it's still raining, but we have just under an hour until this match is scheduled to end. As it stands, New Zealand will pick up a second win and toss Zimbabwe out of the tournament if we don't get back on.

Over 9 Lamb 1- 36-1 - Price and Utseya have finished, so Lamb comes on. However he only gets one delivery before rain stops play. New Zealand are four runs ahead of the D/L rate at the moment, and we'll keep you posted as to the rain situation.

Over 8 Price wd-0-0-0-1-wd-0-0 35-1 - The umbrellas are up in the stands as the over starts with a few specks of rain in the air, while just outside the ground a sheet of falling water approaches. New Zealand need 26 at the end of the over so they're already ahead of the game. Taibu asks the question after taking one down the leg side, but Steve Davis signals wide.

Over 7 Utseya 1-1-1-1-1-1 32-1 - Utseya has done pretty well so far, so he decides to bowl himself out from the off. New Zealand need less than a run a ball to win this match, so they're quite happy to nudge six singles.

Over 6 Price 3wd-0-3-1-0-0-0 26-1 - Zimbabwe can't afford to give anything away, which makes Price's first delivery veryt disappointing - he fires one down leg side which Taibu can't take, and the batsmen run two. McCullum punches through the offside and runs hard to come back for a third, and Guptill prods a quick single to keep New Zealand well ahead of the D/L rate. The consensus is that rain is on its way.

Over 5 Utseya 4-0-3-1-0-1 19-1 - Suddenly there's a bit of tension about as the Kiwis realise they need some runs off this over to make sure they're safe. McCullum takes the bull by the horns and clubs the first ball just past a diving midwicket for four, then paddle-scoops over the bowler's head for three with excellent precision. Two singles take New Zealand to where they need to be should the heavens suddenly open.

Over 4 Price 0-wd-1-1-1-0-0 10-1 - Price's first ball to Martin Guptill turns and bounces as it grips the dry surface, and it hits the right-hander on the back leg as he's squared up and misses an attempted prod. Price asks for a slip, and he gets one. McCullum has similar problems but the batsmen manage a few singles. Those dark clouds are approaching, so a D/L sheet is brought out for the batsmen at the end of the over. They need 18 after five overs to be ahead of the rate.

Over 3 Utseya 0-0-0-0-W-0 7-1 - Wicket! We're seeing just how difficult spin is on this pitch - Jesse Ryder's first shot in anger is an attempted slog sweep which results in a top edge that's taken by Taibu somewhere near short point. That makes it a wicket-maiden for Utseya, but Zimbabwe dare not dream until New Zealand are at least four down for very little.

Over 2 Price 0-0-0-0-1-0 7-0 - Nervous times for England, because there's a big dark rain cloud in the middle distance. This game shouldn't be in danger - even if these two openers take their time to start with - but after last night's Duckworth-Lewis palaver England would prefer a dry evening as they look to avoid a potential banana skin.

Over 1 Maruma 0-4-1-1-0-0 6-0 - Brendon McCullum shows this may be an easy target but New Zealand will go at their usual pace, whacking Utseya's second delivery over wide mid-on for four. Zimbabwe starting with spin - no surprise there - and Taibu still isn't wearing normal keeping pads behind the stumps. Instead he has little ones inside his trouser legs.

Zim 84 all out This is a trickier pitch than yesterday, but not that tricky. Nasser Hussain quite rightly pointed out that Oram's run-out of Masakadza from the boundary was what turned this innings, as Zimbabwe slumped from 58 for one in the seventh over to 84 all out. That depressing collapse means that Zimbabwe must restrict the Kiwis to 73 or less if they want to go through at their expense - the net run rate situation being as it is.

Over 16 Vettori W 84 all out - Wicket! No bluffing this time - Vettori wants to finish the innings and does so with his first ball. Price tries to heave away to leg, misses and is bowled middle stump.

Over 15 Styris 0-0-1-1-1-1b 84-9 - Anti-climax supreme this: Styris bowls without any attacking fielders and Lamb offers the deadest of bats to keep out the hat-trick ball. There was a bit of humour before that though, because Vettori went up to the umpire and pretended to give him his hat. Styris called his bluff though - he wasn't going to give up a chance of a hat-trick.

Over 14 Bond 0-wd-0-2-1-1-1 80-9 - Ray Price and Lamb do their best to add some respectability to the scoreline. Of course Zimbabwe must win by 11 runs or more to go through to the Super Eights, which looks just about impossible when you look at New Zealand's batting line-up. Anyway, no more wickets, so Styris has a crack at a hat-trick.

Over 13 Styris 0-1-W-1-W-W 74-9 - Wicket! Oh dear, three more. Taibu was just being interviewed down on the boundary, doing his absolute best to emit an air of confidence, when Maruma decided he wanted some. He got height but not distance, and Guptill ran around at long-on to take the catch. Graeme Cremer then played inside one of Styris' dibbly-dobblies first ball and got a little inside edge onto his stumps, and Prosper Utseya is trapped lbw to put Styris on a hat-trick in his next over. He might not get to bowl it in this match.

Over 12 Vettori 1-1-1-1-0-0 72-6 - This is more like it from Zimbabwe, who work the singles well without taking any risks. McCullum has bowled out now (4-0-16-3) and Vettori has just one more over. The seamers should be a bit easier to face if these two can hang in there.

Over 11 N McCullum 1-0-0-0-1-0 68-6 - McCullum has bowled around the wicket for the most part, and he continues to do so even against the right-handers. That angle has made things difficult with the ball turning back against it. Just two singles.

Over 10 Vettori 1-0-1-0-0-1 66-6 - There's a real wariness about the batting now, as you might expect after losing five for five. Suddenly it almost feels like a Test match, with the batsmen desperately just trying to survive. Greg Lamb and Timycen Maruma are the men trying to rebuild the innings.

Over 9 N McCullum W-0-W-1-0-W 63-6 - Wicket! Zimbabwe lose three more wickets, making it five lost for as many runs. Chigumbura takes on McCullum but hits him straight down long-on's throat, and then Coventry is beaten in the flight and ends up scooping it back to the bowler. All the while McCullum has just been gaining confidence and his final ball is another beauty, dipping and turning away from Ervine after luring him out of his crease, leaving Hopkins with a simple stumping. Oh dear.

Over 8 Vettori 1-W-0-1-1-0 62-3 - Wicket! Zimbabwe have lost their way a bit here, and have perhaps gone a bit hard in the first two overs after the powerplay. McCullum and Vettori are good spinners, and tricky ones in these conditions, and after such a good start a period of consolidation would be wisest. Blignaut is bowled around his legs trying to sweep this time, and it looked like he got a tiny tickle to divert the ball onto leg stump. Craig Ervine is in at number five, and he and Chigumbura look to get their eyes in with a few singles to start.

Over 7 N McCullum 1-wd-0-1-1+W-1-0 59-2 - Wicket! A superb piece of fielding and an ordinary piece of running leads to Masakadza's downfall. He pulled out to deep square leg, where Oram ran to his left, took the ball and on the bounce and threw on the spin. Masakadza hesitated as he turned for the second and that made him short of his ground. He hangs around in disbelief because Asad Rauf didn't even go upstairs, but although it was tight it was the correct decision. Elton Chigumbura is the replacement, so again it's clear that Zimbabwe are sending their biggets hitters in up front.

Over 6 Oram 1-0-1-4-1-5wd-1 54-1 - This is a fantastic start by Zimbabwe, especially if David Lloyd is correct - he reckons 150 is a good score on this pitch, which he thinks is a bit slower than yesterday's. Blignaut drives nicely over mid-off for four as Jacob Oram - who bowled nicely on Friday - joins the attach. Oram helps the Zimbabwean cause by firing a bouncy wide outside off, and Gareth Hopkins is unable to gather so the ball runs away to the boundary.

Over 5 Southee 4-2-2-W-1-4 41-1 - Wicket! Taibu adds eight more runs before his slogging catches up with him. He moved inside the line to the first ball and again adjusted well to the delivery to get it over square leg for four, and followed that up with a couple of twos. But then he was undone by the slow bouncer which he pulled straight to midwicket. Andy Blignaut comes in at number three, suggesting Zimbabwe are going balls-to-the-wall today. A Masakadza hammer-drive through cover for four off the final delivery of the over confirms they won't die wondering.

Over 4 Bond 1-4-2-0-1-0 28-0 - Appalling cricket, superb innovation from Taibu, who backs away to leg but reacts well after Bond fires it in outside off. The result is four runs after he throws himself back towards the ball and scoops it over backward point. An edge over slip goes for a couple more, so the unconventional approach is having an effect for Taibu.

Over 3 Southee 1-1lb-wd-1-1-0-1 20-0 - Tim Southee replaces McCullum as the spin experiment is abandoned after an over, although McCullum and Vettori will be buoyed by the sight of turn in that first over. Southee is a little bit erratic to start off with, but Taibu is happy to nudge and Masakadza can't make meaningful contact with his big swishes.

Over 2 Bond 0-0-0-1-wd-0-4 14-0 - Bond does indeed get some movement - particularly off the seam - and Masakadza is wary before finally getting one away to deep midwicket for a single. Taibu then ensures it's another decent over by scoop-driving through the offside for four, but the previous ball was a slow short one that just died in the pitch, suggesting this wicket could get tricky as the match wears on.

Over 1 N McCullum 1-2-4-0-1-0 8-0 - Despite the cloudy conditions, Daniel Vettori throws the ball to offspinner Nathan McCullum first up. He gets some good turn straight away, but Hamilton Masakadza hits with it and clears midwicket for a couple before getting four for a slog sweep that went squarer. Good start for the Zimbos.

The bottom line Zimbabwe must win by 11 runs or more to go through to the next round. Not such a huge task then, but that's assuming we get the full 20 overs in on each side.

Conditions It's pretty gloomy out there as the flags are wheeled out ahead of the national anthems, so the fast bowlers will definitely enjoy some swing up front. Zimbabwe's openers will do well to have a look to start off with because it won't pay to go after Shane Bond when he's getting lateral movement.

Zimbabwe Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Craig Ervine, Elton Chigumbura, Charles Coventry, Andy Blignaut, Greg Lamb, Graeme Cremer, Prosper Utseya (capt), Ray Price

New Zealand Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Gareth Hopkins (wk), Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (capt), Nathan McCullum, Shane Bond, Tim Southee

Teams Quite content with their efforts in the opening win over Sri Lanka, New Zealand haven't made any changes. So the real news is that Andy Blignaut plays his first competitive game for Zimbabwe in over four years. The energetic allrounder is joined in the side by Timycen Maruma. Brendan Taylor and Chris Mpofu are the men to make way.

Toss New Zealand have won the toss and elected to bowl first. There was some overnight rain as well as a few showers this morning, so there'll be a bit of freshness in the air for the seamers to exploit.

Hello Did Zimbabwe peak too early? It certainly seems like it - 'minnow' nations can generally get themselves up for a big game or two but not much more, and Zimbabwe perhaps got them out of the way with warm-up wins over Australia and Pakistan. Yesterday saw them beaten by Sri Lanka on the Duckworth-Lewis system after Mahela Jayawardene stroked the sweetest Twenty20 international century I've seen, full of pure cricketing shots. Now they need to beat New Zealand - who look to be one of the best sides in this tournament - comprehensively if they're to make it to the next round.

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