Zimbabwe ready to take on Kiwis

Harare, August 1

Zimbabwe plan to tap into the renewed energy that sparked a victory over India recently as they take on an under-strength New Zealand side in a three-match one-day international series that starts on Sunday.

After sleepwalking their way through a one-day series whitewash at the hands of India, Zimbabwe came to life in the final match of the tour as a fresh desire drove them to a 10-run victory in a Twenty20 match. While New Zealand will be without regular captain Brendon McCullum, new-ball bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee, and top all-rounder Corey Anderson, Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore says his team need to repeat the energy from their last game to have a chance. “I just think we can do a bit better than what we did against India,” Whatmore said.

“To win the last game was very good, there was a different energy out there, and I think if we can reproduce that against New Zealand then we should have a little bit more joy,” Whatmore added. “Despite McCullum, Southee and Boult not being here, they’ve still got a pretty decent team, but it’s our home conditions so we have the ability to surprise.” The hosts have been bolstered by all-rounder Luke Jongwe’s recovery from injuries sustained in a car crash, and the return of fast bowler Tinashe Panyangara from a side strain, while off-spinner John Nyumbu has been recalled.

Whatmore said that he planned to make an unexpected tweak to the batting line-up, but felt the bowling department was the one with the most room for improvement. “We gave India too many runs — we had them in trouble two out of the three ODI games and they still ended up scoring 25 or 30 runs too many, which put our batsmen under pressure chasing,” said Whatmore.

Having rested McCullum and Southee, and seen Boult and Anderson forced out of the tour by injury, New Zealand will get a glimpse of some future talent as they plot their path from a World Cup final appearance earlier this year to the 2019 edition of the tournament. Kane Williamson will captain the Black Caps on the tour, which also comprises a Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe followed by two T20s and three ODIs in South Africa.

All-rounder George Worker could make his international debut and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi is in line for his first ODI appearance. “If we are looking ahead to four years’ time and the next World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to start that development,” New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said. “Two years ago we did the same with Corey Anderson, James Neesham and Mitch McClenaghan on their first tour.”