World Cup runners-up New Zealand were defeated by relative minnows Zimbabwe by seven wickets with one over to spare in the first ODI at Harare on Sunday, with Craig Ervine the hero.
The Black Caps, who were without top-liners Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, reached 4/303 from their 50 overs, largely thanks to a 137-run stand for the third wicket by stand-in captain Kane Williamson (97) and Ross Taylor (112 not out).
Taylor equalled Nathan Astle’s New Zealand record of 27 international centuries in all three formats, while Grant Elliott (43 off 32 balls) chipped in nicely towards the end of the innings.
But after a strong start by Zimbabwe openers Hamilton Masakadza (84) and Chamu Chibhabha (42), Ervine steered the home side to a momentous victory with a maiden ODI century off 99 balls.
After reaching triple figures, Ervine picked up the pace to finish unbeaten on 130 off just 108 deliveries as Zimbabwe mowed down the Black Caps’ target with six balls up their sleeve.
— Zimbabwe Cricket (@ZimCricketv) August 2, 2015
The remaining fixtures of the three-match series take place in Harare on Tuesday and Friday.