New Zealand thump Zimbabwe in their opening T20 match

Zimbabwe, batting first, made 159 for eight and New Zealand reached 160 for three with one ball left in the 17th over Getty Images

Auckland: Feb 11, 2012

New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets in their opening Twenty20 international at Eden Park on Saturday.

Zimbabwe, batting first, made 159 for eight and New Zealand reached 160 for three with one ball left in the 17th over.

Earlier, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura ensured Zimbabwe posted a competitive 159 for eight batting first in the opening Twenty20 match against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

Masakadza blasted 53 off 36 balls at the top of the innings and Chigumbura finished off at the tail end with 48 off 24 deliveries to contribute the bulk of the Zimbabwe runs.

It has been a horror tour for Zimbabwe after being thrashed in the one-off Test and three one-day internationals, and their Twenty20 campaign seemed to be heading in the same direction with the loss of two early wickets.

Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe’s captain and leading batsman, was bowled by New Zealand debutant Michael Bates for three in the second over and Forster Mutizwa followed in the next over without scoring.

At two for 16 after three overs the situation did not look good for the tourists but Masakadza refused to be bowed.

With Tatenda Taibu holding up the other end, the powerful hitter launched into the New Zealand attack and belted three sixes and three fours before he mistimed an attempted fourth six and was caught on the midwicket boundary.

Chigumbura provided highlights at the death with his whirlwind 48, which included three fours and four sixes, before he was caught at long-off after hitting two consecutive sixes in the final over.

The final over cost Bates 15 runs but he still finished his first international bowling spell with an impressive three for 31 while Kyle Mills took two for 32. (AFP)

Brief Score: Zimbabwe 159 for 8 20 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 53, Elton Chigumbura 48; Michael Bates 3 for 31, Kyle Mills 2 for 32, Kane Willianson 1 for 6) lost to New Zealand (Martin Guptill 91, Kane Williamson 48; Kyle Jarvis 2 for 32) by seven wickets

Full Scorecard