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Stakes high for Zimbabwe, New Zealand in decider

Chigumbura's men have a chance in third and final ODI to secure its first series win since 2013

Stakes high for Zimbabwe, New Zealand in decider - Cricket News
With New Zealand's batsmen in good nick, it is imperative for Zimbabwe's bowlers to step up in the decider.
Zimbabwe will eye a rare series win when it faces New Zealand in the third and final One-Day International at the Harare Sports Club on Friday (August 6). Zimbabwe has not won a series since defeating Bangladesh 2-1 in a three-match series in 2013. 

However, Zimbabwe will need its bowlers to step up in order to achieve that. They haven't managed to make much of an impact in the two games so far. In the first, they conceded a total in excess of 300, while in the second, they weren't able to separate New Zealand's openers. 

New Zealand's batting has been terrific this series. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor stood out in the first game, while Grant Elliott chipped in with a 32-ball 43 to power it to a big total. In the second match, Tom Latham and Martin Guptill each scored a ton and had little difficulty in chasing down the target of 236. 

With New Zealand's top and middle order in such good nick, it is imperative that Zimbabwe's bowlers come good in the decider. 

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has a few issues to iron out in the batting department. High on confidence after having beaten India in the second Twenty20 International last month, Zimbabwe chased down a daunting 304-run target with seven wickets in hand in the first ODI, Craig Ervine leading the chase with an unbeaten 130. 

However, things weren't as smooth in the second match where it slipped to 68 for 5 before Sikandar Raza came to the rescue with an unbeaten century, batting at No. 7.

New Zealand will take heart from the fact that the bowling fired in the previous game. This is a New Zealand attack without some big names like Trent Boult and Tim Southee, and it showed in the first game where the likes of Matt Henry and Jimmy Neesham struggled. Ish Sodhi had a less-than-ideal debut, but the leg-spinner made amends for that by picking up 3 for 38 in the last game, while the others came to the party too. 

New Zealand replaced Neesham with Colin Munro for the last match. Adam Milne returned from a lengthy lay-off when he was named in the squad for the tour. But he picked up a minor injury again before the second ODI, rendering him unavailable for selection. Milne has not played a game in this series so far but if he manages to regain fitness, New Zealand will have the option of adding his raw pace to the attack. However, with the bowlers putting up a collective effort in the previous game, New Zealand may not want to tinker with the winning combination.

Zimbabwe has been unchanged for the two matches and will probably go in with the same XI for the decider as well. 
New Zealand has the momentum, but Zimbabwe has repeatedly shown that it has the stomach for a fight and it should make for an interesting contest. 

Teams (from): 
Elton Chigumbura (capt), Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Regis Chakabwa (wk), Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza Butt, Sean Williams, Graeme Cremer, Tinashe Panyangara, Christopher Mpofu, John Nymbu, Vusi Sibanda, Luke Jongwe, Neville Madziva.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Doug Bracewell (South Africa only), Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi (Zimbabwe only), Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.

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