Nicol ton sets up New Zealand win
Opener Rob Nicol plundered 146, the fifth highest one-day international score by a New Zealand batsman as they trounced Zimbabwe by 141 runs in the second one-day international on Monday.
The victory at Cobham Oval, following the 90-run win in the first ODI, gave New Zealand an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series and follows the overwhelming innings and 301 run rout of Zimbabwe in their one-off Test.
Nicol's man-of-the-match 146 off 134 balls was the rock upon which New Zealand built a comprehensive 372 for six before Jacob Oram led a bowling attack that restricted Zimbabwe to 231 for eight.
It was Nicol's second century in only his fifth ODI and he was supported by 77 from fellow opener Martin Guptill, and boundary-bashing cameos from Oram (59 off 28 deliveries) and 19-year-old Tom Latham (48 off 28).
After rain delayed the start of play for 35 minutes, New Zealand made a cautious beginning with two maiden overs before Nicol opened the scoring with an unorthodox slog which resulted in a top edge over slips for four.
But from there his innings was near faultless as he stood in a 131-run partnership with Guptill then a 77-run stand with all-rounder Oram who was promoted up the order.
Nicol was particularly belligerent in the closing stages featuring in a 92-run partnership in eight overs with Latham for the fifth wicket before he was caught at deep midwicket by Shingi Masakadza off Prosper Utseya.
Utseya was the most successful of the Zimbabwe bowlers, taking three for 71 off his 10 overs in an innings where the tourists were made to pay dearly for fielding lapses.
Oram, Brendon McCullum (20 off 18) and Latham all survived catching chances and collectively added 64 runs before their eventual dismissals.
Faced with a daunting target, Zimbabwe were in early trouble with the wicket of Hamilton Masakadza in the second over starting a collapse that saw them at 62 for five in the 20th over.
Tatenda Taibu and Elton Chigumbura steadied the innings by putting on 80 runs for the sixth wicket before Nicol capped his stellar day by dismissing Taibu for 50.
Chigumbura followed soon after for 63, bowled by Oram leaving Utseya, unbeaten on 27, and Shingi Masakadza who made 38 off 31 deliveries, to show their was some fight in the Zimbabwe tail.
Oram was the most successful New Zealand bowler taking three for 29 off his 10 overs to go with his half century with the bat.
The final ODI is in Napier on Thursday to be followed by two Twenty20 fixtures to round off the Zimbabwe tour.
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