Harare: New Zealand played their first international fixture since the World Cup this year and were completely at ease at the Harare Sports Club. Their bowlers showed few signs of rustiness and showed plenty of discipline in restricting Zimbabwe to 123 on a good batting pitch, and the opening pair, led by Brendon McCullum, ensured it was all one-way traffic with a dominating response.
Asked to bat, Brendan Taylor said he was hoping for a score in the range of 160 but the early loss of the openers prompted the rest of the line-up to approach the innings with caution. Kyle Mills bowled consistently in the channel outside off and despite being smacked for a couple of boundaries, dislodged Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha in quick time. He derived a bit of movement and was aided by attempts at belligerence by the openers - Masakadza tried to loft him over mid-off but was caught while Chibhabha's blind swing produced an outside edge.
The responsibility fell on Taylor to anchor the innings and while he did that admirably, he didn't find the desired support at the other end. He rotated the strike and ran well between wickets once the field spread out but for the bulk of their innings, Zimbabwe could only maintain a run-rate of a little over six when they needed much more. Forster Mutizwa, Malcolm Waller and Charles Coventry all got starts but struggled to force the pace, and lost their wickets.