New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Group B, World Twenty20, Guyana May 3, 2010

New Zealand resume hostilities with Zimbabwe

Cricinfo staff

Match Facts

Tuesday, May 4, Providence
Start time 0930 (1330 GMT)

The Big Picture

New Zealand are on a high after their penultimate-ball win on Friday and can seal their spot in the final eight even with a tight loss to Zimbabwe. Rain left Zimbabwe chasing 44 off five overs in their opening game against Sri Lanka and they were only able to manage 29, which hurt their net run-rate.

Zimbabwe were the form team in the warm-up matches, beating Australia and Pakistan, but they now need a big win over an in-form team to have a chance of progressing. The weather leaves them in a desperate state which is unfortunate given the promising signs they displayed last week. While Zimbabwe are worried, Nathan McCullum's six to seal the match against Sri Lanka provided a huge dose of confidence for the New Zealanders, who are in the rare position of having so many of their main men injury free.

This contest has added spice due to New Zealand's continued reluctance to tour Zimbabwe on safety, security and political grounds. The teams last played in any format during a one-day series in Harare in 2005.

Form guide (most recent first)

New Zealand WTLWL
Zimbabwe LWWLT

Watch out for...

Jacob Oram was quiet in the lead-up to the tournament after being struck by more untimely injuries, but he has roared back over the past week. While Nathan McCullum gained the glory against Sri Lanka, it was Oram's two sixes off Ajantha Mendis in the 17th over that raced his team forward. He only stayed for six balls but his 15 runs were essential to the cause, and built on his impressive 46 in the warm-up with West Indies.

Elton Chigumbura was a late arrival in the West Indies, having not boarded the plane with the rest of the team. Zimbabwe are pleased he eventually turned up as his striking is vital to the team posting competitive scores, as shown by his 76 against Australia and 49 against Pakistan in the warm-up games. "Against Australia and Pakistan he struck the ball brilliantly," the coach Alan Butcher said. "He could be a star of the tournament if we do manage to sneak a win and progress."

Team news

Meddling with a winning outfit is risky and New Zealand are unlikely to make any changes. "We've named the same 12 so the only change possibly could be Kyle Mills coming in," the captain Daniel Vettori said. "But I'd suggest we'd probably go in with the same 11."

New Zealand (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Daniel Vettori (capt), 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Shane Bond.

The weather limited Zimbabwe so much in the first game that it will be hard to judge whether anything should change, at least with their batting. Back-to-back matches may force some alterations if any of the faster bowlers struggle in the morning.

Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Tatendu Taibu (wk), 3 Brendon Taylor, 4 Craig Ervine, 5 Charles Coventry, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Greg Lamb, 8 Graeme Cremer, 9 Prosper Utseya (capt), 10 Ray Price, 11 Chris Mpofu.

Pitch and conditions

The lack of speed and bounce is more of a worry for the New Zealanders than their opponents and they have been trying to work out a plan to deal with the slow bowlers, who are a particular threat. "We've got a bit of work to do with spin and with playing the spin," the coach Mark Greatbatch said. "Zimbabwe have got plenty of that." However, Vettori believes the surfaces may be improving as the tournament wears on: "The wicket today has got better and better, so we look forward to hopefully a high-scoring game." Unfortunately more storms are predicted for match day, along with a top of 30C.

Stats and trivia

  • This is the first Twenty20 between the teams, mainly because Zimbabwe have played only nine of them. That makes them the second-most inexperienced side in the competition behind Afghanistan
  • Elton Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza and Prosper Utseya have played in every match
  • Brendon McCullum's 38 sixes are the equal most in Twenty20 internationals, the same number as Yuvraj Singh
  • Zimbabwe's six ducks in an innings against West Indies in February equalled the mark set by Kenya in 2007


    "Zimbabwe are not going to be easy, they've just beaten Australia and Pakistan in warm-up games. There are no easy games here."
    Mark Greatbatch, New Zealand's coach

    "Spinners have done exceptionally well in Twenty20 all over the world. Taking pace off the ball is a vital tactic."
    Alan Butcher, the Zimbabwe coach, expects his slower bowlers to play key roles

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simon on May 4, 2010, 12:37 GMT

    With respect Michael Kent (and yes I realise they are different sorts of games) Vettori averages 43 in the last 2 calendar years of test cricket, with hundreds against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (not to mention is 90 odd wickets at 31), and he has consistently been NZ's best player at that level, in combination with astute captaincy he has been one of the stand out players in the world game. His international t20 record is not good with the bat, but he is more than capable of chipping in hugely valuable runs - much more so that the dire Gareth Hopkins. And while McCullum can be a fairly ugly and brutal batsman, his t20 international hundred against Australia not so long ago proves that he's well worth a spot as a batsman only, although I would prefer a keeper who can hold a bat to replace him!

  • Will on May 4, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    I don't know why mongrelbeast would call Mills inconsistent, over the past year or two he's been very consistently good, that's how he managed to get to 1 or 2 in the odi bowling rankings for that period

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    Playing Brendon McC as a batsman only is a mistake. As a batsman he is a bit of an optical illusion---only every 4-6th innings does he make a decent score, the rst of the time he's just a slogger. Playing Vettori at no.6 , especilly in a 20 20 match is also a mistake---his batting is simply not good enough.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2010, 7:13 GMT

    Go Zim! We can do this boys!!!!

  • lance on May 4, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    the best NZ team we've had in years due to no injuries = this will be a easy win for say give Mills a run since hes had not much cricket in case hes needed for the super 8's

  • titch on May 4, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    zimbabwe should redo their line up , taibu is not the right guy to open , masakladza and maybe chigumbura might be a batter choice or blignaut, get some momentum from the start.

  • nicholas on May 4, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    On NZ team selection: Why wuld ya put a great steaming grogan into a pavlova; please, not the inconsistent Mills. Currently its the best NZ team I've seen us put on the field in years. The nature of 20/20 is that you only need one 100+ sr bat to fire past 70 to be competitive and we have four (Taylor117, McCullum 132, Ryder 135, Guptil 113) who do so regularly enough to ensure that at least one will always fire along with excellent sub 150 support, so we have an excellent chance of making the finals. NO MILLS, NO FRANKLIN!

  • Ben on May 4, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    It would have to be the best team i've seen in a long time wearing the black. personally, i'd love to see Ryder and McCullum get stuck in and put on a display of clean power hitting. Good luck lads, we're with you in spirit.

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2010, 22:11 GMT

    This will be a crucial match for NZ. Zimbabwe is rising upto the demand and showing sparks of fighting for the win. Now NZ has play very much upto the level of others with Zimbabwe. It will be interesting to watch this match.

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