Williamson kanes Zimbabwe
Kane Williamson kept his nerve at the death to see New Zealand to a thrilling five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe at Hamilton in the second Twenty20 international.
Zimbabwe won the toss and made first use of good batting conditions to reach 200 for two, captain Brendan Taylor leading the way with a big-hitting 75 not out.
The Black Caps began their reply strongly, but two wickets in successive balls for Kyle Jarvis left them needing 21 from nine deliveries. However, Williamson hit three back-to-back boundaries to win the game.
Zimbabwe will therefore return home having lost every full international of their tour: the one-off Test by an innings, the three one-day internationals by wide margins and both T20s.
The hosts made two changes from Saturday’s game, with Andrew Ellis earning his T20 international debut alongside the returning Tim Southee. Martin Guptill, who had a leg niggle, and Doug Bracewell sat out.
Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri, who replaced Forster Mutizwa in Zimbabwe’s only alteration, made a blistering start with a stand of 76 in seven overs before the latter departed for 32, lifting Ronnie Hira to long-off. He hit two fours and three sixes in 19 balls.
Masakadza reached a stunning 26-ball half-century with a six off Ellis but slowed and fell for 62 from 42, with three fours and four sixes, when he hoisted Michael Bates to long-on.
However, Elton Chigumbura struck three fours in a Kyle Mills over and Taylor then reached his fifty with a six off Bates from the 31st ball he faced.
He added two fours in Southee’s final over but Zimbabwe could only take five from the last, bowled by Mills, which also saw Chigumbura dropped by James Franklin on his way to 29 not out.
Openers Rob Nicol and Franklin put New Zealand on track with a century stand in 10 overs before Nicol, having hit four fours and as many maximums in an innings of 56 from 37, skied Chigumbura to deep cover.
Franklin kept the rate going until he was superbly run out from the boundary by Keegan Meth for 60, also from 37 balls, with three fours and five sixes.
Brendon McCullum added 38 from 24, but he and brother Nathan successively holed out off Jarvis - leaving Williamson as the key man.
His four meant 14 were needed from the last over and, after Ellis squirted a single to deep midwicket, Williamson crashed Shingi Masakadza for four, six and four to win the game with two balls to spare. The 21-year-old finished on 20 not out from five balls.