McCullum stars in ten wicket win over Zimbabwe

The BLACKCAPS have made a strong statement in the opening match of their tour, beating Zimbabwe by ten wickets in the first Twenty20 International in Harare.

Batting first Zimbabwe were kept to 123 for eight after being put into bat with the BLACKCAPS openers reaching 127 in just 13.3 overs.

Brendon McCullum was in blistering form hitting the rope on five occasions and clearing it six times on his way to 81 not out, using just 46 deliveries.

At the other end Martin Guptill made a comparatively pedestrian 40 off 36 balls.

Earlier Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor hit 50 in the final over and was accompanied by a series of batsmen who made starts but were unable to convert them to anything substantial; the next best innings was 16 by Forster Mutizwa. 

The BLACKCAPS  bowling attack hunted as a pack, taking wickets at regular intervals to prevent Zimbabwe getting any momentum.

New ball bowler Kyle Mills had the best figures of two for 15 while spinner Nathan McCullum picked up two for 17.  Jacob Oram, Luke Woodcock and debutant Doug Bracewell chipped in with one apiece.

The home side weren’t helped by some sloppy fielding with both McCullum and Guptill dropped to go along with missed run-out opportunities.

BLACKCAPS captain Ross Taylor was full of praise for his team.

"We came here to win, and the way we started with the ball was pleasing, but we know Zimbabwe will come hard at us,” said Taylor.

“When you have been out of cricket for so long, the way we backed up the bowlers in the field was excellent.

“Brendon and Martin were outstanding with the bat.”

The second and final Twenty20 International is on Monday 17 October at 2.00pm local time, 1.00am NZ time.

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