New Zealanders 345 for 7 dec. (Guptill 74, Aliseni 2-31) & 201 for 7 dec. (Santner 51, Williamson 49) beat Zimbabwe A 114 (Williams 55, Sodhi 4-18) & 173 (Chakabva 48, Williams 46, Southee 2-15) by 259 runs
The New Zealanders allayed coach Mike Hesson's fear that taking 20 wickets in Zimbabwean conditions would be tough as they bowled the A side out twice in two days to claim a resounding 259-run win in the three-day warm-up match. Not only did the New Zealanders' attack manage to run through their opposition, but they also ensured they were not bowled out in either innings to sound a warning about the difficulties the hosts may face in the two-Tests series.
After running through Zimbabwe A on the second day, the New Zealanders resumed their innings on 154 for 4 on the third morning. Captain Kane Williamson had his first outing with the side after joining them from a county stint and added 12 runs to his overnight score of 37 before retiring without reaching a milestone. Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell were give some time in the middle as the New Zealanders let their lower order face some bowling. After 11.5 overs of batting in the morning session they declared, setting Zimbabwe A an improbable 433 for victory.
Zimbabwe A had a better start than in their first innings, in which they had slipped to 0 for 3, but they still had early stumbles. Nkosana Mpofu managed just 6 before becoming the first victim. Vusi Sibanda, who opened in place of his injured captain Tino Mawoyo, scored 37 but it was up to the Test middle order to resist for as long as possible. Sean Williams added to his first-innings fifty with 46, while Regis Chakabva contributed 48, but once they were dismissed Zimbabwe A fell away rapidly.
Southee, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Neil Wagner all finished with two wickets each, and a member of New Zealand's support staff was on the field to grab a catch, as only one of Zimbabwe A's bottom six batsmen got into double figures.
Zimbabwe A's worries are not limited to their poor showing, but extend to personnel as well. Opening batsman Mawoyo had to retire hurt on the second day, having faced just four balls, after being hit on the hand by Southee. Mawoyo did not bat in the second innings, which could put his participation in the Tests in doubt. Sibanda, who was dropped from the Test squad, may be in line for an emergency recall.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent