3 Aug 2015

Taylor equals record but Black Caps lose

1:08 pm on 3 August 2015

Black Caps batsman Ross Taylor made history in Harare overnight, yet it wasn't enough to seal a special occasion for New Zealand as Zimbabwe claimed a last-over victory in the first one-day cricket international.

The Black Caps' batsman Ross Taylor celebrates his century.

The Black Caps' batsman Ross Taylor celebrates his century. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Caps, celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week) with Aotearoa on their shirts for the first time in history, had posted 303 for four from 50 overs, thanks to an unbeaten century from Taylor and Kane Williamson's 97 from 102 balls.

Taylor made history by scoring the 15th ODI century of his career - 112 not out from 122 balls. It's his third against Zimbabwe and 27th in all forms of the game to equal the New Zealand record of Nathan Astle for the most hundreds across all formats.

Look back at the match commentary here:

In reply, Zimbabwe got off to a sound start with Hamilton Masakadza (84) and Chamu Chibhabha (42) putting on 74 for the first wicket, before the latter was bowled by Nathan McCullum in the 15th over.

Craig Ervine then combined with Masakadza for a pivotal 120-run partnership for the second wicket which helped steer the hosts to their thrilling last-over win, and had the locals dancing on the bleachers.

The Black Caps' 22-year-old leg-spinner Ish Sodhi almost had a wicket in his first over on ODI debut, but he too would suffer as the Zimbabwean batsmen settled in and took advantage of fielding mishaps.

After a fine knock, Masakadza was finally caught behind by Luke Ronchi, off the bowling of McCullum in the 35th over, before skipper Elton Chigumbura (26 off 31) came to the crease and all but finished the job for Zimbabwe alongside an ebullient Ervine.

There was an element of tension at the death with Zimbabwe needing 16 off the last two overs, but a boundary and a six for good measure from man of the match Ervine left Zimbabwe needing just one run to win from the last over.

In the end, they didn't even need that as they watched the umpire's arms outstretch for one last wide.

The victory was Zimbabwe's ninth-ever over New Zealand.

In his last six innings, the Black Caps' first drop Williamson has scored 45, 93, 118, 90, 50 and 97 today, to average 82 and underline his status as one of the most devastating batsmen in world cricket.

Taylor's century included six fours and three sixes from 115 balls and was his first since his 119 at Bulawayo in 2011, and his third overall in Africa.

Since the Cricket World Cup, Taylor has now scored 57, 119 (not out), 110, 42, 47 and 112 (not out) for an average of 122 over that period, and the veteran of 165 ODIs combined well with Grant Elliott (43 off 32 balls), who upped the run rate before he was run out in the 46th over.

The second of the three-match ODI series is on Tuesday night at 7pm (NZ time), also at the Harare Sports Club.

"We'll look at little areas with the ball we can improve on", said Williamson afterwards.

"It certainly wasn't a train wreck, but we'll look for improvement in all areas."

"I thought 300 was enough, but Zimbabwe outplayed us in all areas today and full credit to them."