Super Zim stun Black Caps
Waller ensures hosts finish series on a high in Bulawayo
Last Updated: 25/10/11 7:35pm
Malcolm Waller: Held nerve at the death
Zimbabwe salvaged some pride and avoided a whitewash series defeat at the hands of New Zealand by claiming a dramatic one-wicket victory in the final one-dayer in Bulawayo.
Malcolm Waller was the hero for Zimbabwe, who lost the opening two ODIs, as his unbeaten 99 steered the home side to a 329 target with one delivery to spare.
It was a record run chase by Zimbabwe, who watched on earlier as Ross Taylor (119) and Kane Williamson (100no) made centuries in New Zealand's commanding first-innings total of 328-5.
Zimbabwe appeared to be cruising, needing less than a run-a-ball off the last seven overs with five wickets in hand and Waller and Elton Chigumbura well-set in the middle.
However, the home side then lost Chigumbura (47), Keegan Meth (0) and Natsai Mushangwe (7) for the addition of 13 runs to slump to 308-8, needing another 21 runs with only two wickets left.
At that point it looked as though Zimbabwe would come up short, but Waller was still at the crease and he helped guide his side back into a strong position, needing four runs off what proved to be a dramatic final over from Jacob Oram.
Waller was dropped off both the first two balls by New Zealand captain Taylor - one a half-chance, the other a straightforward opportunity - and, to add salt to the visitors' wounds, he collected three vital runs in the process, although that left number 10 Ray Price on strike.
Price failed to score off the third delivery of the over before then falling next ball, caught by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum off a top edge.
Crucially though, the two batsmen were able to cross, and Waller calmly collected a single off the next ball to clinch the win.
Waller, who was also dropped by Taylor at slip when on 46, was his side's hero in the end but Zimbabwe were indebted to a number of other valuable contributions after suffering a dismal start to their run chase when opener Vusi Sibanda was dismissed for a duck off the second ball of the innings.
Skipper Brendan Taylor, who scored centuries in the first two ODIs, continued his fine form with a rapid 75 while Tatenda Taibu (53) and Chigumbura also helped keep Zimbabwe in contention before Waller, who hit 10 fours and one six in his 74-ball knock, guided them home.
Earlier, New Zealand had recovered from 41-3 to set an imposing target thanks largely to a fifth-wicket stand of 195 between Taylor and Williamson, who completed his 69-ball hundred in remarkable fashion in the final over.
A ton looked out of the question when he required seven off the final delivery but a four off a Njabulo Ncube no-ball was followed by three more runs off Chigumbura, who had been called on to bowl the final delivery after Ncube had been removed following a second high no-ball of the innings.
That was Williamson's second ODI century, to go with a fifth ton for Taylor, but it was not enough in the end.