ZIMBABWE will need to summon every ounce of skill and commitment if they are to pick themselves up from a heavy defeat on Tuesday to compete in today’s series-deciding third and final One Day International against New Zealand.
In the last match the hosts succumbed to some good all-round cricket by the Black Caps, whose penetrative accuracy with the ball laid the platform for the batsmen who were untroubled in running down a total of 235 posted by Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe are aware there is a rare opportunity to force a series win against a test side other than Bangladesh.
Going by the last match, Zimbabwe need to improve on just about every aspect of their game.
They could have batted better, bowled much better while there is always room for improvement in the fielding.
The toss will be important this morning and it would be good to win it, and as we learnt from the last match, it would be important for Zimbabwe to make the right call.
In the batting line up they have shown that they have the right personnel; what they need is to have at least three of them firing and as proved by the first ODI they won by seven wickets, such a scenario presents Zimbabwe with a better chance of winning.
But it is different with the bowling where is seems the resource are wafer-thin.
Chris Mpofu may find himself on the sidelines with Neville Madziva getting a run, while Prosper Utseya is also likely to sit this one out with John Nyumbu earning another cap.
Captain Elton Chigumbura yesterday confirmed changes are afoot as Zimbabwe seek to grasp this golden opportunity with both hands.
“We are going into a decider on the back of a heavy defeat,” said Chigumbura. “We need to improve all aspects of our game if we are to win this game and the series. In the last match both the batting and bowling were not up to scratch, but maybe if we had batted better we would have made it easier for the bowlers. We need better penetration with the ball and striking early is the key.”
Despite being outplayed in the last match the team retains confidence that they can still pull off another win, he said.
“We won against them a few days ago, not much has changed since then. We are confident about ourselves; we are playing at home and this is a big opportunity for us. We will give it a good fight.”
Despite their stroll to an easy win on Tuesday, the tourists admit the final match will be a challenging one.
Coach Mike Wesson said the toss will be an important factor considering the way the wicket has behaved in the first 10 overs so far.
“I think if you look at both games, the first 10 overs were challenging. They turn into quite flat wickets over here, but initially the ball holds in the wicket, especially with a hard seam.”