Zimbabwe aim to stem the rot
October 24, 2011 07:55 GMT
The scene has shifted from Harare to Bulawayo, but the travails of Zimbabwe never seem to end. They managed to take more wickets in the second ODI then they had taken in the T20 matches and the first ODI. Despite this, the end result never looked in doubt as New Zealand cantered home. The final ODI gives Zimbabwe one last chance of pulling the rug from under New Zealand's feet.
New Zealand: The bowlers and the top-order have meant that the middle order has hardly had much to do. The rustiness was evident as the Kiwis endured a mini-collapse in the second ODI. New Zealand will be mindful of guarding against any sort of complacency, but would wish that the middle order get a decent look-in ahead of a tough summer ahead. The bowling has looked in good nick despite allowing Zimbabwe to recover twice from difficult positions. With the series in the bag, they might opt for some experimentation in the batting order.
Zimbabwe: The top-order batting has been the difference between the two teams. While the Kiwi top-order have taken it on themselves to finish games, the top-order of their opponents have been shaky and vulnerable. This has put too much pressure on the fragile middle-order. To their credit, the later order batsmen have put their hands up and have lent good support to Zimbabwe skipper, Brendan Taylor. Taylor has batted in a sublime fashion to score back to back tons, but the top-order meltdown has always meant that Zimbabwe were always been behind the eight ball game. The bowling has been a huge let-down as they have failed to hunt in packs. The bowlers have been guilty of bowling at least one freebie every over which has meant that there has been no pressure on the batsmen. Zimbabwe has prided themselves on their fielding abilities, but this series has been an absolute shocker. Malcolm Waller put down two dollies off Brendon McCullum in the second ODI and the ground fielding has been way below minimum standards.
Team News: With the pitch expected to aid spin, New Zealand may give Luke Woodcock a game instead of one of their seamers. Zimbabwe has nothing but pride to play for and they may consider giving Natsai Mushangwe a debut.
Brendon and I bat well together, we complement each other quite well and he kept me going right through - Martin Guptill likes batting with McCullum.