Guyana: A confident New Zealand will be eyeing a Super Eight berth when they take on Zimbabwe in a Group B match of World Twenty20 at the Providence stadium here Tuesday.
The Black Caps pulled off a thrilling two-wicket win with a ball to spare against Sri Lanka in their opening match Saturday and they would be eager to qualify for the next round.
New Zealand strike bowler Shane Bond said it is unlikely that they will tinker with the lineup that clinched a victory in the opening match.
Bond, however, said his side is far from being complacent against Zimbabwe.
“In this sort of format, the shorter it is, the more even it gets, so I think there are no favourites in the tournament,” he was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.
“I suppose we will be fielding the same team (to the one that beat Sri Lanka) as it is a must-win game for us. You want to carry momentum forward into the next stage, so I expect similar lineup to the first game.”
Bond, who took two for 35 against Sri Lanka, is well aware of Zimbabwe’s ability to create upsets, having already beaten Australia and defending champions Pakistan in the warm-up matches last week.
“Zimbabwe are capable of upsetting, especially if they get surfaces that suit them,” he said.
Referring to all-rounder Andy Blignauht’s return to the side after five years, Bond said Zimbabwe have a lot of experienced players back in the side.
“They are an experienced team that’s been together for a long time so in this format they are going to be very tough and we have to show them due respect.”
The low and slow pitches in the Caribbean will force Black Caps to make the most of their spin options.
In the warm up matches, Zimbabwe opened their bowling with off-spinner and captain Prosper Utseya and orthodox left-arm spinner Ray Price against Australia. Against Pakistan, they opened with legspinner Graeme Cremer and another offie, Greg Lamb, who were successful.
“We’re trying to work a method out to play on these surfaces,” New Zealand coach Mark Greatbatch said. “They are a bit low and slow and turning and it’s not easy to score boundaries all the time, so it’s important we come up with an effective method.”
“We have got a bit of work to do playing the spin, and Zimbabwe have got plenty of that. We need to get the ball into the outfield, which is nice and big, and put pressure on their fielders, and we’re going to get more runs like that.”