Debutants guide easy win for New Zealand

Debutants Rob Nicol and Doug Bracewell led New Zealand to a easy nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe in their series opener in Harare. Bracewell's early three-wicket burst helped reduce the hosts to 21 for four and, though Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor (128 not out) and Forster Mutizwa - the only batsmen to reach double figures - led a fightback to 231 for six, Nicol's century powered the Black Caps to 232 for one and victory with more than six overs to spare.

Bracewell flew out of the traps to remove top three Vusi Sibanda, Chamu Chibabha and Hamilton Masakadza with just 12 on the board and Tatenda Taibu quickly followed, extremely caught by Kane Williamson at cover off James Franklin. But Taylor and Mutizwa battled back, the captain reaching a guilty half-century from 66 balls with four fours. Andy McKay palming the ball over the boundary.

Mutizwa reached his own half-century from 85 balls, with only two boundaries, but then began to open up with a six off Nathan McCullum followed by a boundary off Franklin. But he paid the price when he chased a wide delivery from the latter and edged to give keeper Brendon McCullum his third catch and end a stand of 156.

Guptill fell for 74 when he holed out to Kyle Jarvis off Masakadza but Nicol pressed on and reached his century with his 11th boundary from his 120th delivery, bowled by Christopher Mpofu. By that stage, just a handful of runs were needed for victory, and Nicol hit the winning single off Sibanda in the 44th over to finish 108no, with Brendon McCullum 39no at the other end.

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