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This tour immediately followed Zimbabwe's impressive inaugural Test match against India. Martin Crowe captained the tourists, having just taken over the reins of a team weakened by retirements of key players and he could not afford to lose; he did not prove a popular or diplomatic captain as far as Zimbabwe were concerned -- they encountered sledging for the first time -- but he did the job. The presence of Dickie Bird as umpire was blamed by many for the first serious rains to hit Bulawayo for eleven months, but the covers at Bulawayo Athletic Club were totally inadequate and it was to prove the ground's only Test match. New Zealand dominated the match, but had insufficient time to force victory, with a determined century from Arnott ensuring a draw. Never before had any Test team avoided defeat in its first two Tests, but Zimbabwe's bubble burst in Harare, when a last-day batting collapse gave New Zealand a 177-run victory. New Zealand won both one-day matches, but by fairly narrow margins, and Zimbabwe were able to set them a target of 272 in the second of these.
Tests Zimbabwe 0, New Zealand 1
ODIs Zimbabwe 0, New Zealand 2
1995-96 (New Zealand)
A spirited Zimbabwe team did well to gain draws in the two Test matches, although helped by the weather in the first game at Hamilton. Here New Zealand declared twice in an effort to force victory, and Zimbabwe were making a good effort to reach their target of 257 in the last two sessions of the match when they were rocked by three dubious umpiring decisions and were forced to opt for a draw, a determined Andy Flower seeing them through to safety. Zimbabwe took a lead of 75 on first innings at Auckland, thanks to a fighting century from Dave Houghton, whose reward was a broken toe that kept him out of the World Cup that followed this series. Contrasting centuries from a dour Spearman and a devastating Cairns pulled New Zealand out of trouble; Zimbabwe did not attempt to score 367 in 109 overs but easily saved the match. After losing the first two one-day matches convincingly, Zimbabwe surprised with a 21-run victory in the third.
Tests New Zealand 0, Zimbabwe 0
ODIs New Zealand 2, Zimbabwe 1
The home side, on their way up in the cricket world, fancied their chances against an inexperienced New Zealand team rebuilding under new captain Stephen Fleming; they dominated the Tests but through lack of 'winning technique' were unable to force victory when on top. Grant Flower was in the finest form of his career, scoring 387 runs in the two Tests with twin centuries in Harare, where two Strangs and two Rennies joined the Flowers to provide the only instance of three pairs of brothers in the same Test side. A mixture of dogged defence and blatant time-wasting earned New Zealand a draw there with eight wickets down, set 403 to win. At Bulawayo, Whittall scored a double-century and Huckle took 11 wickets, a Zimbabwe record, and the match went down to the last over as Zimbabwe challenged New Zealand to score 286 in just over four hours on a fine batting pitch; they finished 11 runs short with two wickets left. The one-day series was also drawn, with one tied match; Zimbabwe's nemesis throughout the tour was Chris Harris, who made vital all-round contributions in every match and the home side would probably have won both series without him.
Tests Zimbabwe 0, New Zealand 0
ODIs Zimbabwe 1, New Zealand 1
1997-98 (New Zealand)
Zimbabwe arrived in New Zealand after a controversial and traumatic tour of Sri Lanka and totally failed to show the spirit they had shown playing at home five months earlier. Instead of the good batting pitches at home, they found conditions favouring seamers, a further blow to a demoralised side. They went down to heavy defeats in both Tests, suffering another kick in the teeth from Lady Luck at Auckland, where they won the toss and decided to bat in bright sunny conditions, only for the clouds to roll in within half an hour for the benefit of the gleeful New Zealand seamers. New Zealand won by an innings, with centuries from Horne and Astle, to follow the ten-wicket margin in Wellington (McMillan 139). Doull and Nash revelled in the conditions and the spineless batting, both taking 11 wickets in the series. New Zealand also dominated the one-day series, although Zimbabwe did pull off an unexpected one-run win against a team perhaps somewhat overconfident in the third match, and failed by only two runs in the final match.
Tests New Zealand 2, Zimbabwe 0
ODIs New Zealand 4, Zimbabwe 1
New Zealand, with a more experienced side, found their third tour to Zimbabwe their most rewarding as far as Test cricket was concerned, with the home side struggling to fill the gaps created by the untimely departures of three key players in Goodwin, Johnson and Huckle; in addition, problems between the Zimbabwe players and administrators over the issue of merit selection were beginning to escalate. In Bulawayo Zimbabwe did lead the tourists by 12 runs on first innings, Paul Strang having recorded his country's best Test bowling figures of eight for 109. Late on the fourth day, a draw seemed inevitable as Zimbabwe started their second innings but a dismal batting collapse on a good pitch handed a seven-wicket victory to New Zealand on a plate. Further humiliation beckoned in Harare as Zimbabwe followed on 299 behind, but a superb fighting innings of 188 not out by Guy Whittall gave hopes of a draw. New Zealand just got home in time by eight wickets, but amid controversy; Zimbabwe claimed that bowler Nash had deliberately obstructed Whittall as he tried to keep the bowling during a crucial last-wicket stand, resulting in the run-out of last man Mbangwa. New Zealand also romped home in the first one-day match, but then came a surprise as two outstanding nineties by Campbell inspired Zimbabwe to victories in the remaining matches, although in the second match it was New Zealand's turn to cry foul as a couple of dubious umpiring decisions went against them.
Tests Zimbabwe 0, New Zealand 2
ODIs Zimbabwe 2, New Zealand 1
2000-01 (New Zealand)
Zimbabwe paid a flying visit to New Zealand for the Wellington Boxing Day Test and a three-match one-day series, and continued to give their supporters hope (false though it was) of an upturn in fortunes. Centuries from Astle and McMillan enabled New Zealand to reach 487, the highest total to date between the two countries, before declaring in the Test, but rain and a dead pitch ensured that Zimbabwe had no trouble in avoiding defeat. New Zealand were handicapped by the loss of Cairns through injury, and fine individual performances gave Zimbabwe an unexpected victory in the one-day series: a masterly 80 by Andy Flower in the first match, a century by Campbell in the second (although New Zealand won that match), and then a brilliant unbeaten 79 off 67 balls by the captain Streak in the deciding match that took his team through to a thrilling one-wicket victory.
Test New Zealand 0, Zimbabwe 0
ODIs New Zealand 1, Zimbabwe 2
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