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Zimbabwe banks on momentum, batsmen to make it 2-0

The first ODI might have gone the way of the host, but New Zealand has the firepower to pull level

Zimbabwe banks on momentum, batsmen to make it 2-0 - Cricket News
Now, Zimbabwe finds itself in an unfamiliar position where the momentum is on its side and it would be hoping it comes to its aid.
Though New Zealand does not have Brendon McCullum, Trent Boult or Tim Southee in its ranks, it is still capable of toppling most teams. Or so everyone thought when the party for the tour of Zimbabwe was announced, till Craig Ervine willed Zimbabwe on to a seven-wicket win in the first of three One-Day Internationals in Harare on Sunday.
That result, by the way, was Zimbabwe’s first ODI win since the victory over United Arab Emirates at the 2015 World Cup.
Now, Zimbabwe finds itself in an unfamiliar position where the momentum is on its side, and it would be hoping it comes to its aid when the second ODI gets underway at the same venue on Tuesday (August 4).
But for Zimbabwe to clinch a series victory — a feat that has eluded it since it beat Bangladesh 2-1 in a three-game series in 2013 – it would once again rely on its batsmen to do the trick.
Zimbabwe’s bowling lacks the punch and it showed in the first ODI where it conceded 303 runs with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor seemingly shutting it down. But, from the time Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha arrived at the crease, it was clear that Zimbabwe had the stomach for a fight with the willow in hand. Ervine then delivered with an unbeaten 130 to carry Zimbabwe home with an over to spare.
The problem for Zimbabwe is that an under-strength New Zealand side probably still possesses enough in its arsenal to hunt down pretty much whatever it puts up. With Martin Guptill and Tom Latham up front and Williamson and Taylor to follow, New Zealand’s batting line up looks menacing even without McCullum.
The Williamson-Taylor partnership has been one of the highlights for New Zealand in recent times and it wouldn’t be surprising if the two manage to hit their stride again on Tuesday. In the last game, they became the first New Zealand pair to reach ten ODI century stands and 15th overall.
On the bowling front, though, New Zealand looks a bit out of sorts without the experience of Southee and Boult. Matt Henry and Mitchell McClenaghan were barely a threat on a surface that provided enough late in the game and Ish Sodhi, the legspinner who made his debut in the first game, was ordinary at best. Nathan McCullum was the only one to hold his own in New Zealand’s poor showing with the ball. 
Should New Zealand put up a similar disjointed effort, Zimbabwe stands a very good chance of clinching the series.

Teams (from)

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

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

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