Zimbabwe v New Zealand, 2nd Twenty20, Harare October 16, 2011

New Zealand favourites for series win

Match Facts

Zimbabwe v New Zealand, October 17, Harare
Start time 1400 (1200 GMT)

The Big Picture

The heady heights of a Test win must be a distant memory for Zimbabwe, even though it was only two months ago that they beat Bangladesh in their comeback Test. They have now lost nine international games on the trot and are coming to terms with what looks like it will be a long, hard slog to prove they are worthy of Test status.

Though they are inexperienced at Twenty20 cricket, this may be the format most likely to provide Zimbabwe rare wins against Test-playing nations. The brevity of the game means there is not much time for a better side to make the difference in quality count, and an individual performance or a single phase of play can often be enough for an underdog to cause an upset.

Zimbabwe's problem in Twenty20 cricket seems to be the inability to get off to quick starts with the bat. They had an opportunity to beat Pakistan after they kept them to 141 in Harare during the recent home series, but the top order floundered and left the middle order too much to do.

From the strength of the side New Zealand put out in the first Twenty20 international it is clear they are not treating this series as one to test new players; not surprising considering their embarrassing 0-4 defeat to Bangladesh just a year ago. They have beaten Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in both their last two encounters, the first being in the World Cup, but even if Zimbabwe do break through the opening pair, a middle order featuring Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder and James Franklin looks imposing.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Zimbabwe: LLLLL
New Zealand: WLWWL


With Brian Vitori out injured, 22-year-old Kyle Jarvis has been entrusted with being Zimbabwe's spearhead. Spin is Zimbabwe's strength at home but if Jarvis can provide a couple of early strikes it will make Ray Price and Prosper Utseya's task easier. Jarvis will have to quickly forget the 32-runs-in-three-overs mauling he was subjected to on Saturday.

Brendon McCullum grabbed the headlines in the first Twenty20 with his 81 off 46 balls, but his brother Nathan McCullum once again showed why he is fast becoming one of New Zealand's most-important players in the limited-overs formats. With Daniel Vettori having retired from the shorter formats, Nathan McCullum is New Zealand's lead spinner, and this tour is a chance for him to adapt to that role.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch for the first Twenty20, at the same ground, was flat, and Zimbabwe's score of 123 was well under-par. Brendan Taylor had said at the toss his side were aiming at 160, but the way the New Zealand openers went about things, even that may have fallen well short. Pakistan smashed 198 in a Twenty20 here in September, and with the weather in Harare surprisingly cool for this time of year, conditions should be good for batting.

Team news

Zimbabwe went in with just three specialist bowlers in the first T20I, and after their part-time seamers went for 58 runs off five overs, they may consider bringing in either Chris Mpofu or Keegan Meth for a batsman. Tatenda Taibu did not recover from an earlier injury in time for the first game, while Vusi Sibanda missed the first T20 as his mother died on the morning of the game. Taibu, if he is fit, will replace Regis Chakabva.

Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Chamu Chibhabha, 3 Brendan Taylor (capt), 4 Forster Mutizwa, 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Regis Chakabva/ Tatenda Taibu (wk), 8 Keegan Meth, 9 Prosper Utseya, 10 Ray Price, 11 Kyle Jarvis

New Zealand should go in with the same side, with 21-year-old allrounder Doug Bracewell getting another chance after making his international debut on Saturday.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Jesse Ryder 4, Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Kane Williamson, 6 James Franklin, 7 Nathan McCullum, 8 Jacob Oram, 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Luke Woodcock

Stats and trivia

  • Zimbabwe have not beaten New Zealand in any international match since January 2001

  • In 14 Twenty20 internationals against Test-playing nations, Zimbabwe have scored more than 150 while batting first just once

  • Brendon McCullum has the most runs in Twenty20 internationals for any batsman, with 1181 runs in 41 innings


"I thought we batted poorly, there were just too many dot balls and in the end 123 was never going to be enough to trouble New Zealand."
Alan Butcher, the Zimbabwe coach, points out the reasons for Zimbabwe's loss in the series opener

"When you have been out of cricket for so long, the way we backed up the bowlers in the field was excellent."
Ross Taylor, New Zealand's captain, appreciated his players' efforts six months after their last international game

Dustin Silgardo is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aditya on October 17, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    I got a doubt. Please someone rectify it. I am reading the commentary for India - England cricket match. But I cannot find anywhere the chat section. How can I get to the chat section. I want to chat. I like my comments to be published. By the way, I like both the teams. I don't know whom to support more. Lets hope NewZealand wins again with some more Brendon McCullum big hits around the ground. After his superb innings against Australia (the superb century that earned him the ICC best T20 innings of the year award) I'm left hungry for more such innings.

  • Andrew on October 17, 2011, 10:27 GMT

    @BonyongoDestroyer - Thank you! Finally, some sense being spoken. I think the author is unfamiliar with the situation. We have worked hard on our longer format skills, but this short stuff is still not really our forte. New Zealand on the other hand have been very good in T20. I watched McCullum destroy Austrailia in two T20s last year, while we all saw what Ross Taylor has done in the past. Of the 9 matches we have lost in a row which supposedly means we are 'struggling' (according to the author) we competed very well in and could have won 6 of them if we had a bit more luck/experience. So I don't think that means we are 'struggling' in the way he is portraying. Remember, even when we had Andy Flower and co, we would lose more matches than we would win, so we have to look at our progress in that context. I also favour test matches and I hope we can put up a fight like we have for the vast majority of the test sessions we have played so far!

  • Anver on October 17, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Zim must realize that catches always win matches.....in recent times they missed some easy chances which is not acceptable in professional cricket...like to see some fighting qualities & a better performance in the 2nd T20 !!!!!!

  • Bonyongo on October 17, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @Nduru - I agree with your sentiments. Zim don't really have a pool of power players suitable for T20s right now - maybe one day we will - but I think we have been concentrating on getting our players Test technique to a good standard - which has worked for us. Call me a purist but personally I'd be more than happy if we didn't even play T20s - or maybe just one match at the beginning of a tour, thats how lowly I rate it as a spectacle. Amazing that the writer here thinks that anyones Test worthiness can be drawn from their T20 results? a few years ago the article would have said quite the opposite...

  • John on October 17, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    We Indian fans back Zimbabwe to play competitively and hopefully beat NZ....If batting first, Zim need a total in excess of 160 and need to strangle NZ with spin. If batting second, they need to restrict NZ t0 140-160....With the batting power that NZ have this is almost a miracle...but if it happens,then I'd back Zim to chase it down... The batsmen coming at the top must not waste deliveries and just strike the ball around. Zim need the big guys like Taylor and Chigumbura to step up and deliver.

  • Andrew on October 16, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    I TOTALY disagree with this shallow analysis that says that Zim would somehow be unworthy of test status because we were beaten in some T20s. In fact, T20 is the format we are least used to. Rather judge on how well Zim have done in the two tests they have played. We totally outplayed Bangladesh, and then competed very very well with Pakistan for all but two sessions in the second test, which is what lost us the game. We then with a little more experience could have won at least 3 of the limited overs games. But now you write this drivel that we are in danger of not being worthy of test status etc etc. Please, follow what has happened more honestly. Yes, we still have a way to go, but I believe there is an improvement. We were walloped in the last game, but we lost two key players right before the match - Vusi and Taibu. I bet you they will perform better in the longer format and I think its a myth that the shorter the game the easier it is to win.

  • Jesse on October 16, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    I agree with Sachit1979, Coventry should be included. He has a massive strike rate, and a good range of strokes. If he can pull it together, Zimbarbwe could get a big score! I hope Keegan Meth does play, and goes well, especially after getting his teeth knocked out. Also, I wish Sean Ervine would come back to play for Zimbarbwe!

  • Sachit on October 16, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    Preview has excluded Charles Coventry from the playing 11. I think he is one of the best players in Zimbabwe for this format so he should be in. Even if Taibu does n't play this match, Coventry could play ahead of Chakabva. Furthermore either of he or Mutizwa could keep wickets too. Keegen Meth should definitely be included after seeing dismal show my Zimbabwe pacers in first T20.

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