Craig Ervine's maiden ODI ton helps hosts beat New Zealand by seven wickets
Harare: Craig Ervine scored his maiden ODI century to guide Zimbabwe to a stunning seven-wicket victory over World Cup finalists New Zealand in the first ODI here yesterday.
Zimbabwe's Craig Ervine celebrates his century against New Zealand at Harare yesterday. Pic:AP/PTI
Ervine, brother of Hampshire's Sean, came to the crease with the hosts 74 for one chasing 304 for victory and got his side there with six balls to spare, with his unbeaten 130 off 108 deliveries containing 11 fours and five sixes.
Ross Taylor's 112 not out had earlier underpinned New Zealand's 303 for four, a total which looked to be enough against a Zimbabwe side ranked 11th in the world. But Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha, who contributed 84 and 42 respectively, got the home side off to a solid start and laid the platform for Ervine to attack the New Zealand bowlers.
Zimbabwe required 88 from the final 10 overs but, importantly, Ervine was set and began to chip away at the rate by clearing the ropes. The 29-year-old went to his century, his first in any format at international level, in the 47th over and then launched a crucial assault in the next, smashing Matt Henry for a six and a pair of fours to leave his side needing just 16 off 12 balls.
Hamilton Masakadza en route his 84 yesterday. Pic/AFP
Zimbabwe needed just one off the final over after Ervine took 10 from the last two balls of James Neesham's set of six, and Nathan McCullum sent down a wide to spark wild celebrations.
McCullum, who was the pick of the bowlers with three for 62, was not needed in the New Zealand innings as Kane Williamson and Taylor piled on the runs. The tourists lost two early wickets after being put in but stand-in captain Williamson and Taylor shared a 137-run partnership to lay the platform for a late charge.