Napier: New Zealand and Zimbabwe head for the McLean Park, Napier, for the third and final ODI, the hosts having won the series with two crushing wins. With nothing left to play for, Zimbabwe are down and out while New Zealand, with the luxury of having the series in the bag, are expected to persist with a new crop of players.
The left-arm medium-pacer Michael Bates will make his ODI debut in a spin-heavy bowling attack. Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's captain, confirmed Bates' position in the playing XI after the Auckland seamer warmed the bench in the first two matches, which New Zealand won by 90 runs in Dunedin and 141 runs in Whangarei.
"Batesy deserves his opportunity. He's played well for Auckland for a number of years and I'm sure he'll do well given his chance tomorrow," McCullum said.
Bates, 28, has played 30 first-class games since his Auckland debut eight years ago but has been a regular limited-overs performer, taking a competition-high 14 wickets in the domestic Twenty20 HRV Cup this summer.
New Zealand will be without batsman Dean Brownlie, who fractured a finger attempting a catch during the second ODI. Without Brownlie, McCullum said they would play five specialist batsmen, followed by the allrounders with Nathan McCullum at No. 7 and Andrew Ellis at No. 8.
New Zealand's attack will be spin-heavy, with Nathan McCullum, Rob Nicol and rookie legspinner Tarun Nethula set to do service with the ball. Tim Southee was released from the 12-man squad, and Kyle Mills could be 12th man with Doug Brownlie opening the bowling.
Zimbabwe had high hopes for this tour but it has all gone wrong. They were bowled out twice in a day to lose the one-off Test in Napier by a crushing margin, and in the two ODIs neither the batting nor bowling has been inspiring. Their totals in the two matches – 158 and 231 – have just not been good enough to challenge the home team. The top order has struggled to get starts and the experienced trio of skipper Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu and Elton Chigumbura have been left with too much to do.
The McLean Park pitch – traditionally a belter – is expected to be full of runs. The team who wins the toss should bat first.
New Zealand: 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Jacob Oram, 4 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 5 Tom Latham, 6 Kane Williamson, 7 Nathan McCullum, 8 Andrew Ellis, 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Michael Bates, 11 Tarun Nethula.
Zimbabwe: 1 Regis Chakabva, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Brendan Taylor (capt), 4 Tatenda Taibu, 5 Forster Mutizwa (wk), 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Ray Price, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Brian Vitori.