Whangarei – New Zealand cruised to a 141-run victory after amassing 372 for 6 at Whangarei's Cobham Oval, and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the ODI series. Their mammoth innings was grounded by Rob Nicol's 146, and launched by Jacob Oram's 28-ball 59, with Martin Guptill's 77 providing the early spark. Zimbabwe's thin hopes evaporated when three wickets fell in the first seven overs of their chase, and their innings meandered to 231 for 8 in 50 overs. Such was the magnitude of the drubbing, that in response to a New Zealand effort that featured 29 fours and 16 sixes, Zimbabwe managed only two fours until the 28th over of the chase.
Following a 131-run opening stand from Nicol and Guptill, Oram's belligerence propelled New Zealand's pace from brisk to frenetic, and flattened the opposition. Promoted five spots to No. 3 in a ploy to maintain the tempo, Oram responded with an innings whose violence was reminiscent of his early years. Having taken the batting Powerplay soon after his arrival, Oram unleashed an array of punishing strokes - some of which had been notably missing in recent times. The four towering strikes over long-on were brutal, as were the drives that singed the turf behind the bowler, but it was his inside-out loft over extra cover that stood out.
Nicol's steady progression to a second ODI hundred drew little attention as Guptill, then Oram, and for a short time Brendon McCullum, exploded at the other end. Nicol stayed at close to a run-a-ball throughout his innings, collecting 10 fours and six sixes himself as he set up a brutal finish to the innings.
Earlier, Zimbabwe were guilty of a dramatic slip in fielding standards, missing no fewer than five clear-cut chances after they had restricted New Zealand to 10 runs in the first five overs. Tatenda Taibu and Elton Chigumbura fluffed an early run out, where they could have dismissed either batsman with ease, before Oram was gifted a reprieve ten overs later. Two absolute sitters went down - off Brendon McCullum and Tom Latham - and Nicol also benefitted from a dropped chance. – Agencies