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Sublime Williamson helps New Zealand seal series

Visitor's captain makes 90 while McClenaghan snares three as Zimbabwe falls short by 38 runs in Harare

Sublime Williamson helps New Zealand seal series - Cricket News
Kane Williamson led from the front with a sturdy 90, his sixth straight 50-plus score, as New Zealand recorded a 38-run victory in the decisive third One-Day International against Zimbabwe on Friday (August 7) to wrap up a 2-1 series win. As a result, New Zealand completed a come-from-behind series victory, having lost the first ODI by seven wickets.

Sent in to bat, New Zealand posted 273 for 6 on the back of cameos from Grant Elliott (36) and Jimmy Neesham (37 not out) after Williamson laid the foundation. 

Zimbabwe lost a clutch of wickets after a solid start, before Sean Williams attempted a late heist courtesy a 63-ball 62. The innings came to a grinding halt in the 48th over on 235 as Mitchell McClenaghan picked up the final wicket to finish with figures of 3 for 36.

On a dry pitch, New Zealand’s batsmen were tested by Zimbabwe’s spin duo of Graeme Cremer and John Nyumbu, who took five wickets between them.

Nyumbu made the initial breakthrough when he dismissed Tom Latham (16). New Zealand appeared to have rebuilt and looked set at 100 for 1, before Cremer had Martin Guptill caught at slip for 42. When he spun one past the defence of Colin Munro, New Zealand was in a hint of trouble at 128 for 3.

Williamson added 70 for the fourth wicket with Elliott, but New Zealand was pegged back when Cremer dismissed Elliott for 36. The slide continued as Williamson was caught brilliantly on the boundary for 90 off Nyumbu, the off-spinner.

Although Neesham and Nathan McCullum boosted the New Zealand total with an unbroken stand of 50 from 25 balls, Zimbabwe was on track to chase down the target when Hamilton Masakadza (57) and Chamu Chibhabha (32) put on 97 for the first wicket.

It required a breakthrough from McClenaghan to pull things back as he bowled Chibhabha, before Masakadza struck a short delivery from Williamson straight to deep midwicket.

A flourishing stand between Craig Ervine (32) and Williams was then ended by Ben Wheeler’s sharp fielding off his own bowling. Although Williams went on to make a fighting half-century, McClenaghan returned to grab two more wickets and finish the game off in style.

The two teams will now meet at Harare Sports Club on Sunday for a one-off Twenty20 International, when New Zealand will once again be without Ross Taylor, who missed the final ODI. He was also ruled out of the remainder of the tour of Africa, which also includes two T20I and three ODIs against South Africa, when he suffered a blow to the groin in training on Thursday and required minor surgery.

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