Dunedin: After suffering a humiliating ordeal in the one-off Test against New Zealand in Napier, Zimbabwe will have an uphill task ahead of them in order to compete with the hosts on level terms, when the two sides clash in the first of three one-day internationals in Dunedin on Friday.
The visitors were bowled out twice in a day to suffer an innings and 301-run defeat at McLean Park in a rain-hit contest which ended inside three days.
The Brendan Taylor-led side will have to come up with something extraordinary in the batting as well as bowling departments which failed miserably in the Napier Test.
Zimbabwe suffered an innings and 301-run defeat against New Zealand in the one-off Test.
Regis Chakabva with 63 to his name was the only batsman to come up with something substantial in Zimbabwe's second innings score of 143 after the tourists were shot out for 51 in their first essay.
The bowlers in the absence of injured pacer Chris Mpofu looked toothless for majority of New Zealand’s innings as the home team finished with 495 for 7 declared.
The Kiwis on the other hand will be looking to dominate the show in spite of the unavailability of Ross Taylor, who has been ruled out because of a calf strain sustained during his team's comprehensive victory in the Test match. It also gives the opportunity for stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum to try out new-comers Michael Bates, Tarun Nethula, Andrew Ellis and Tom Latham who have been included for the ODI series.
While Doug Bracewell along with Kyle Mills will be in charge of New Zealand's fortunes with the white ball, captain McCullum will be looking to combine with openers Rob Nicol and Martin Guptill to get the team off to a flier at the top of the order.
Zimbabwe will be looking to draw inspiration from their win against the New Zealanders in the third match of the one-day series at home last year, when they successfully chased down a target of 329.
They will be counting on skipper Taylor who scored back-to-back tons in the one-dayers against the Kiwis in the last series to lead by example, and engineer a drastic change in fortunes in the upcoming games.
New Zealand: Rob Nicol, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum (capt), Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, Jacob Oram, Tom Latham (wk), James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (capt), Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Regis Chakabva (wk), Keegan Meth, Prosper Utseya, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori