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Guptill guides Black Caps again

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Martin Guptill

Martin Guptill proves Zimbabwe's scourge again with an unbeaten 91 that earned a seven-wicket win in the first of two Twenty20s

Martin Guptill’s fifth straight fifty versus Zimbabwe eased New Zealand to a seven-wicket win at Eden Park, Auckland, in the first of two Twenty20 internationals.

Guptill shared a third-wicket stand of 137 with Kane Williamson en route to 91 not out from 54 balls as the Black Caps comfortably overhauled the tourists’ first competitive score of the series.

Having been thrashed in a one-off Test and three one-day internationals, Zimbabwe posted a creditable 159 for eight thanks principally to Hamilton Masakadza’s 53 and 48 from Elton Chigumbura.

Although seamer Kyle Jarvis left New Zealand 15 for two, Guptill and Williamson - who made 48 - recovered to set up victory with 3.1 overs to spare.

Brendan Taylor chose to bat first but was soon bowled by Michael Bates, one of three home T20 international debutants along with Roneel Hira and Colin de Grandhomme, before Kyle Mills had Forster Mutizwa caught at cover for nought.

Maszakadza and Tatenda Taibu rallied, the former striking three sixes and as many fours in a 36-ball innings that ended with a midwicket boundary catch off Williamson.

Nathan McCullum snared Taibu, who holed out to long-off on 27, and Mills removed Max Waller likewise - but Chigumbura corrected that wobble with a six and consecutive fours off the expensive Doug Bracewell.

With Shingi Masakadza bowled by Hira, Chigumbura lifted Bates for back-to-back maximums - but was immediately held at long-off from his 24th delivery. Prosper Utseya was the second wicket of the final over, caught first ball at fine-leg, as Bates returned 3-31 from four.

Jarvis took immediate revenge for consecutive fours by bowling Rob Nicol and, two balls later, Brendon McCullum skied to mid-off.

Guptill, with four sixes, and Williamson, with consecutive fours off Chigumbura, rebuilt and then dominated until Shingi Masakadza threw down the non-striker’s stumps to dismiss Williamson, who faced 38 balls.

Guptill’s sixth six and and an off-side two immediately completed victory. Like Williamson, he struck five fours.