Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum took three wickets each as New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by seven runs under Duckworth/Lewis method in a farcical rain-marred Group B match to qualify for Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup in Providence on Tuesday.
Styris produced a superb pace bowling spell of three for five from his two overs, while off-spinner McCullum took three wickets by giving away 16 runs to bundle out Zimbabwe for just 84 in 15.1 overs after New Zealand opted to bowl first on a turning pitch.
Both Styris and Nathan McCullum capitalised on some inept batting by Zimbabwe as they took all their wickets from a single over. All of McCullum's scalps came in the ninth over while Styris took his three wickets in the 13th over.
Chasing 85 for a win, New Zealand made 36 for one from 8.1 overs before rain interrupted play with Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill at the crease on 22 and six respectively.
At that time, New Zealand were seven runs ahead of par score under D/L method.
Rain stopped after around one hour but confusion prevailed as the target was revised twice as players were out to resume play only to end it abruptly.
After the first revision, the target for New Zealand was 45 from 11 overs but had to be changed to 40 from 10 overs. But all of a sudden, the match ended apparently because the ground was not ready for resumption of play after the heavy rain.
With the win, New Zealand topped Group B after winning both their matches and qualified for the Super Eight along with Sri Lanka, who finished second with one win.
Zimbabwe lost both their two group matches to crash out of the tournament. They had lost to Sri Lanka by 14 runs on Monday.
New Zealand made a slow start in their run chase and they were pegged back by the loss of Jesse Ryder (2) in the third over.
Ryder ended his miserable stay at the crease, top-edging Prosper Utseya delivery while trying for a slog sweep for wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu to pouch it easily. Ryder consumed 11 balls for his two runs.
New Zealand made 19 for one after five overs and they were 36 for one in 8.1 overs when rain interrupted play.
Earlier, Zimbabwe batsmen collapsed in a heap after a steady start as they were bundled out for a paltry 84. Openers Tatenda Taibu and Hamilton Masakadza put on 36 runs in 4.4 overs and were 58 for two in 6.4 overs.
But after that Zimbabwe batsmen fell in a heap, losing eight wickets for just 16 runs by slumping from 58 for two in 6.4 overs to be all out for 84 in 15.1 overs. After the opening stand of 36, Zimbabwe lost five wickets in 15 balls as they slumped from 57 for one in 6.4 overs to 63 for six in the ninth over.
Later, three wickets fell in the 13th over bowled by Styris as Zimbabwe lost eight wickets for just 16 runs.
Taibu top-scored with a breezy 21 off 14 balls, which included four boundaries, while his opening partner Masakadza contributed run-a-ball 20. Greg Lamb (14 n.o.) was the only other batsman who reached double figures.
New Zealand opening bowlers Shane Bond and Tim Southee bowled a lively spell but Taibu was not the one to remain quiet. He hit two fours each off Bond and Southee.
Southee though had the last laugh as he removed Taibu with a slow bouncer and the wicketkeeper-batsman holed out to square-leg fielder Jacob Oram while trying a pull shot.
Zimbabwe were at a healthy 41 for one after five overs but five wickets in 15 balls put them in serious trouble.
First, Masakadza was run out in the seventh over, while trying for a single. Oram, at deep midwicket, released the ball quickly and wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins threw the wicket down before Masakadza could reach the crease.
Four balls later, Blignaut (8) fell to Daniel Vettori. He went for a slog sweep but completely missed it and the ball hit the stumps after kissing the gloves.
Three batsmen fell in the ninth over bowled by McCullum. Elton Chigumbura (3) went for a big shot only to find Martin Guptill. Charles Coventry offered a tame catch to McCullum in his follow through for a duck while Craig Ervine (1) was stumped by Hopkins after he was foxed by the flight of the delivery.
There was lull for a while and Zimbabwe added 10 runs from 21 balls before Timycen Maruma (4) fell in the 13th over.
That led to another collapse as his two team-mates Graeme Cremer and Prosper Utseya fell in the same over. Both of them failed to open their account.
Ray Price (2) was the last man out leg-before-wicket to Vettori as Zimbabwe folded at 84, the second lowest total in the tournament so far.