New Zealand overcome Taylor heroics
Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum guided New Zealand to a series-clinching four-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second one-day international in Harare.
Guptill made 105 and McCullum 87, putting on 157 for the second wicket as the tourists reached their victory target of 260 with 10 balls to spare.
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor had earlier hit his second successive unbeaten century, making 107 not out in a total of 259 for eight.
It was not enough, however, as Zimbabwe were made to pay for dropping McCullum four times. They now trail 2-0 in the three-match series, with the final match taking place in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe made a breakthrough in the eighth over when Rob Nicol, on nine, was superbly caught down the leg side by Forster Mutizwa off Keegan Meth, but Guptill and McCullum quickly took the game away from the hosts.
Guptill, who profited from the cut and drove confidently on both sides of the wicket, smacked nine fours in his 121-ball innings, while McCullum hit three fours and four sixes from the 99 deliveries he faced to take New Zealand from 49 to 206.
McCullum was dropped on nought, 23, 31 and 59 before he became Meth’s second victim, caught at cover by Vusi Sibanda. By that stage, the damage had already been done.
New Zealand made hard work of rattling off the remaining runs and Guptill was one of four further batsmen to fall when he was yorked by Malcolm Waller, but Kane Williamson and Jacob Oram saw them home.
Taylor, coming in at three, had earlier smashed 12 fours and one six in his 105-ball 107 to carry Zimbabwe to a competitive total.
The 25-year-old stood firm as his partners came and went, but shared 86 for the fifth wicket with Waller, who struck six fours in his 43-ball 42.
Off-spinner Nicol came in for particular punishment, conceding 17 from the 30th over, but Zimbabwe were unable to enjoy similar success against Andy McKay, who returned career-best figures of 4-53.
After removing Hamilton Masazkadza and Tatenda Taibu in his first spell, McKay returned to bowl Waller and Elton Chigumbura.
As Zimbabwe looked to accelerate, Meth holed out to deep midwicket off Oram, who had Prosper Utseya caught behind in the final over.
There was still time for Taylor to become the first Zimbabwean to record consecutive ODI hundreds with a paddle-sweep for four, but his efforts were to prove in vain.