ZIM v NZ, 2nd Test Preview: Zimbabwe hope for revival

ZIM v NZ, 2nd Test Preview: Zimbabwe hope for revival

New Zealand
New Zealand. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Hosts Zimbabwe will hope to showcase a much better performance when they prepare to clash with New Zealand. Taking inspiration from the fourth innings resistance they showed in the 1st Test. Zimbabwe should come stronger in the upcoming game. It is a crucial game in the context of the series. They gave a hint of competitiveness late in the 1st Test and this perhaps will be a good opportunity to shut the critics who were questioning their status as a Test playing nation. New Zealand will by default start as favourites and will be aiming to pocket the series. Their bowlers look in great form while batsman has also been outstanding.

There can be a bit of non-cricket drama at the venue also as the fans in Bulawayo have been asked to join a peaceful protest during the second Test between Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Bulawayo as part of the #thisflag demonstrations. The movement, started by Pastor Evans Mawarire, has been held throughout the country in recent weeks, encourages Zimbabweans to take ownership of their flag, and by implication their country, through mass action.

Zimbabwe:

If everything happens according to the reports, Zimbabwe will be boosted by the return of two important players in their team off-spinner John Nyumbu and experienced seamer Chris Mpofu. Both Nyumbu and Mpofu have been training with the squad over the last three days although neither was included in the squad for the first Test. However, after inflicting a heavy defeat, the management might ponder over the idea of strengthening their bowling arsenal. The duo’s inclusion will add variety. Rest of the team is expected to remain the same.

New Zealand:

For New Zealand, it will be another chance to put up a dominating performance. The pitch is expected to be unresponsive in comparison to the one rolled for the first game. But, they don’t have much to worry about considering the way the whole unit performed. Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner would hope for another fantastic outing with the ball.

The spinner Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner must be prepared to bowl on a challenging wicket which is expected to get batsman friendly each passing day. Both teams are still likely to find taking wickets even more difficult. The pitch being prepared has been rolled very hard and promises plenty of runs. But, at the same time, batsmen can have a jolly time batting here. The likes of Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson will be raring to go against the inconsistent Zimbabwean bowling attack.

Stats:

  • The last time Zimbabwe won at Bulawayo was in April 2001 against Bangladesh.
  • New Zealand has a 100% record at Bulawayo in Tests since 1998. They have played and won 4 Test matches. They played only one match before 98′ and drew against a good Zimbabwe side.
  • Only Graeme Cremer (25) and Hamilton Masakadza (14) have more than 10 wickets in Test matches.