Zimbabwe XI – 271 for 2 in 40.4 overs (Brendan Taylor 87*, Sikandar Raza Butt 63, Chamunorwa Chibhabha 62, Hamilton Masakadza 41*; Jono Hickey 1/15)
Zimbabwe XI won by eight wickets.
FORMER captain Brendan Taylor showed his pedigree with an unbeaten 87 while the rest of the top order provided steady support as Zimbabwe chased down 266 with relative ease in the second warm up match against Northern Districts XI, at the Harry Barker Reserve in Gisborne, New Zealand yesterday.
Taylor took ownership of the chase and barely put a foot wrong scoring at better than a run a ball from the onset, sending a clear warning for Zimbabwe’s opponents at the ICC Cricket World Cup. He put on a definitive 100-run stand for the third wicket with Hamilton Masakadza (41*) that virtually took the game away from the opposition to complement the solid foundation laid by the two Zimbabwe openers.
Sikandar Raza Butt (63) and Chamunorwa Chibhabha (62) put on 133 runs for the opening stand -- a partnership that set the tone early ensuring Zimbabwe were streets ahead of the required run rate right from the start.
Raza’s second half century in as many matches came in just 53 balls and included five boundaries and two sixes as he threaded the field as well as clearing it. Chibhabha at the other end gave admirable support, proving he could just be the man to partner Raza in the mandatory powerplay.
The Northern Districts XI bowling attack lacked penetration, and while Jono Hickey (1/15) and Arnie Yugaraja (1/34) had some success, it was not enough to deny Zimbabwe the win.
Earlier, Tinashe Panyangara (1/14) and Tawanda Mupariwa (1/35) shared the new ball and suffocated the scoring rate, before five spinners operated to control the mid-section of the game. Sean Williams was the most economical spinner on display with figures of one wicket for 43 runs in nine overs.
For Northern Districts XI, Brett Hampton (70*) and Danny Gibbs (59) were the chief contributors in getting to what seemed a par score for the home side.
The two teams meet again for the last time on Friday, at the same venue, before Zimbabwe moves on to lock horns against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in further dress rehearsals for the ICC Cricket World Cup tourna-ment.