Only T20 - Zimbabwe vs New Zealand: Preview
Zimbabwe have a good chance to pull off an upset against the visitors who have missed their big guns.
New Zealand managed to recover after the shocking loss in the opening one-dayer to clinch the three-match series against Zimbabwe 2-1. The Kiwis will not be having that luxury again as they look to get the better of the hosts who had pulled off an upset against India in their last T20 outing.
Form guide and team news
Both teams have lost three of their last five matches in the format but will look to build on the win in their last match.
With two wins from their last four international matches, Zimbabwe's chances are particularly high in this format of the game. They got the better of India thanks to some brilliant bowling performances, but it was their batting that enabled them to put a close fight against Pakistan in the two T20s before that.
Graeme Cremer produced a match-winning spell of 4-0-18-3 in the win against India and he proved it was no fluke as he produced yet another brilliant performance of 10-0-44-3 against the Black Caps in the 3rd ODI, but this time in a losing cause.
Tinashe Panyangara leads a disciplined pace attack and they have a formidable opening pair of Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza to bank upon for a good start. Add to it the versatile Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza, the hosts could well be in with a solid chance.
Wicket-keeper batsman Regis Chakabwa is yet to deliver on his promise and has been having trouble with the gloves as well, but in his preferred format, the stage could be set for him.
Extend the above stats to the last eight matches, the Kiwis have only three matches. They have played only one T20 this year, the loss against England, and only three in the last twelve months and could be a little rusty in the format. In addition, the absence of World Cup heroes, Tim Southee and Trent Boult has been felt in the pace department.
Luckily for the visitors, the spinners have stepped up with both Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum picking up five wickets each.
A lack of runs in the middle order is also a worry for New Zealand who are missing the experienced Ross Taylor. None of the batsmen apart from Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Tom Latham managed to put in decent scores in the ODI series and they will be hoping that the others come good.
Pitch and conditions
The team batting first at Harare has won in the last two T20’s, and the captain winning the toss will likely do the same as the scheduled 1 PM start will negate the pace assistance the teams got in the first and third ODI’s here.
Probable starting XIs
Zimbabwe: 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Chamu Chibhabha, 3 Craig Ervine (wk), 4 Elton Chigumbura (captain), 5 Sean Williams, 6 Sikandar Raza, 7 Regis Chakabva, 8 Graeme Cremer, 9 Tinashe Panyangara, 10 Neville Madziva, 11 John Nyumbu
New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Colin Munro, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 James Neesham, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Mitchell McClenaghan, 10 Ben Wheeler, 11 Ish Sodhi