Providence, Guyana: After stunning Pakistan and Australia in the warm-up games, Zimbabwe got a shock in their opening match against Sri Lanka as the heavens conspired against them. In a rain-affected tie that was decided on the Duckworth/Lewis method, Zimbabwe lost by 14 runs on Monday. A day later, they will hope for a reversal of fortune as they take on New Zealand in what should be an engrossing affair especially after the Kiwis managed a slender win over Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup opener on Friday.
The biggest contributing factors could be the weather and the pitch especially after rain affected both games here on Monday and England captain Paul Colingwood has already call for a relook in the manner in which rain rules affect the outcome of matches, especially in Twenty20, where it barely takes five overs to constitute an innings.
Zimbabwe has major lessons to learn on the bowling front after their medium pacers were carted all over the place by Mahela Jayawardene. On what was a low turning wicket in the opening clash that saw Sri Lanka barely managed 135 for six against New Zealand, Monday's game was a story in contrast. Surely, the medium pacers are not the ones who will be able to do the job against a strong New Zealand batting order that boasts of the likes of Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill and Nathan McCullum.
Zimbabwe's Chris Mpofu and Elton Chigumbura will have to bowl a much tighter line at the top of the innings. If it wasn't for Ray Price and Greg Lamb, Sri Lanka could have easily piled on more runs. Zimbabwe's bowling plans, therefore, must focus on a multi-pronged attack to contain the Kiwi batsmen. Even in the game against Sri Lanka, Ryder, Guptill, Ross Raylor and Scott Styris all fell to the spinners.
If the Zimbabwe bowlers do not manage to mix it up and continue to bowl the way they did against Sri Lanka, they could well be chasing a 200-plus score in Tuesday's game.
Meanwhile, Kiwi pacer Shane Bond has already indicated that the team will go in with the same lineup that won the opening game.
"I suppose we will be fielding the same team 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."
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."