New Zealand qualify after Styris and McCullum shine with the ball

Zimbabwe 84 New Zealand 36-1 <i>(New Zealand win by 7 runs (D/L method))</i>
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The Independent Online

New Zealand advanced to the World Twenty20 Super Eights with a seven-run victory over Zimbabwe in a rain-shortened game at Guyana National Stadium yesterday.

New Zealand had bowled Zimbabwe out for just 84 and reached 36 for 1 in replay after 8.1 overs when rain intervened and no further play was possible.

Nathan McCullum and Scott Styris each struck with three-wicket overs to put their side on course for a second group win and Zimbabwe on the brink of elimination after they had lost to Sri Lanka yesterday.

With showers again forecast throughout the day in Georgetown and the Duckworth-Lewis method always likely to play a part, as it had on Monday, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori would have been happy to win the toss, electing to bowl.

Zimbabwe got off to a solid start with Tatenda Taibu and Hamilton Masakadza putting on 36 before Taibu was caught by Jacob Oram off Tim Southee for 21 in the fifth over.

The next wicket fell in the seventh over when Masakadza was run out for 20 and that sparked the Zimbabwe collapse, with four more wickets falling in the next 14 balls.

Vettori struck next over, his first, by bowling Andy Blignaut, for eight, and Nathan McCullum took three wickets in the ninth over, removing Elton Chigumbura for three, caught by Martin Guptill, then trapping Charles Coventry for a duck, caught and bowled, before Craig Ervine was stumped by Gareth Hopkins for one to leave Zimbabwe at 63 for 6.

Then Styris took three wickets in the 13th over, his two overs going for just five runs, and Zimbabwe were 74 for 9, Vettori returning in the 16th over to bowl Ray Price with his first ball and dismiss the side for 84.

Zimbabwe got an early break when Taibu caught Jesse Ryder off captain Prosper Utseya in the third over with the New Zealand score on seven.

Rain stopped play after 8.1 overs with the score 36 for 1, putting New Zealand ahead of the par score by seven runs, the official margin of victory.

The rain did stop but with groundstaff unable to prepare the field in time, the result was declared without any further play.

New Zealand captain Vettori paid tribute to the performance of McCullum and Styris following his side's victory over Zimbabwe.

"After a tough start it was good to fight back in those middle stages particularly with Nathan McCullum and Scott Styris, those two three-wicket overs really helped us," Vettori said. "I think we knew it would be a difficult wicket to bat on later on with Zimbabwe having so many spin bowlers but the confidence in the middles stages, which we have shown in in a number of Twenty20 games, was there and we were pleased with it again today."

But the all-rounder acknowledged his side will face tougher tests as they advance to the Super Eight stage of the competition, and hinted that they may tinker with the side for their upcoming games.

"We have played the same team in both games so far, but we know we will face tough opposition, probably South Africa first up, so we have to adapt and be ready," he said.

Zimbabwe captain, Prosper Utseya, praised the positive start his side had made to their innings, but was left to rue the fact they had not built on that foundation as they exited the tournament.

"We are disappointed," he said. "We had a good start but didn't make use of it. I think it was a bit of inexperience, in the two warm-up games we had been struggling up front and I thought the guys in the middle order tried not to play themselves in.

"The potential is there it is just consistency that's lacking at the moment. If you want to play at the highest level you have to mature as a cricketer."

Meanwhile, the former British police chief Ronnie Flanagan has been appointed as head of cricket's anti-corruption and security unit by the sport's world governing body. The appointment by the International Cricket Council follows a period in which the sport has had to deal with the effects of terrorist attacks in India and Pakistan and counter the threat of match fixing and betting scandals.

Flanagan, who had senior police roles with the Home Office and in Northern Ireland, succeeds a former London police chief, Paul Condon, who has had the position for 10 years.