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New Zealand Strong against Zimbabwe in 1st Test

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New Zealand Strong against Zimbabwe in 1st Test

July 29
16:16 2016

kiwizimNew Delhi, Friday, July 29 – At Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo a day ago, the opening Test between New Zealand and Zimbabwe began. Those in Playing XI from Zimbabwe were Michael Chinouya, Chamu Chibhabha, Brian Chari, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Prince Masvaure, Regis Chakabva, Graeme Cremer – the captain, Donald Tiripano. Players to sit on bench were Richmond Mutumbami, Tino Mawoyo, Taurai Muzarabani, N Ncube and Peter Moor.

At the same time New Zealand squad had Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson – the skipper, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Trent Boult. The players not included in the top eleven were Jeet Raval, Luke Ronchi, Matt Henry, Mark Craig and Doug Bracewell. Despite the fact that the players in extra from both sides did not get chance to perform and eye a place in the coming Test, it was a good learning experience by seeing. Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat first. This turned in fact fruitful for the New Zealand players who seemed earning a lot on the Day 1 of the first Test as they winded up the innings of rivals at a score of 164. The entire team was back to the dressing room in 77.5 overs.

Zimbabwe managed to stand on the crease a bit long than expected after two openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha lost their wickets to Southee and Wagner at the scores of 4 and 15. Both hit a shot in their short innings. Third wicket fell early as well since Hamilton Masakadza was taken by surprise by a quick response timing of Santner who did not make any mistake to catch the ball soon after delivering the ball. 15 runs were scored by the batsman batting at number three in 52 balls, together with a couple of fours. Losing Sean Williams in Wagner’s over at a score of one indisputably added pressure on the host as the dream to do well in the contest looked getting shattered. But after this, Zimbabwe managed to get some runs of the scoreboard thanks to stability shown by Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza.

The two did not look into any hurry and tried reading the mood of New Zealand bowling. Santner  gave a breakthrough at that point of time when Craig Ervine was stumped by wicket-keeper Watling. He scored 13 runs in 42 balls, inclusive of a four. Three wickets fell in the next over when Zimbabwe totaled 72 runs. Sikandar Raza was dismissed by Wagner at a score of 22 (4 x 3) and Regis Chakabva on a naught. Graeme Cremer went back to the dressing room on a zero as well. Wagner shone out of the blue, giving New Zealand what was needed at that point of time. Prince Masvaure was the second highest scorer from Zimbabwe before being lbw by Southee. He fell 8 runs short to get a fifty but seven classy shots from him lent a hand to the team think of putting at least a respectable score towards the end.

Donald Tiripano was doing his job in a way near to perfect. A not out innings of 49 runs in 162 balls, together with a biggie and six boundaries, was enough to surprise opponents. Game was over for Zimbabwe when Michael Chinouya did not succeed to make sure he stands on the other end for long. Wagner got the last wicket when Chinouya tried to place the ball. It hit the stumps, making him depart at 1 run. Had Zimbabwe players played with confidence earlier as they did in the last few minutes, scenario could have been slightly different. Raza, Masvaure, and Chinouya were able to score with utmost ease in view of the fact that they look resolutely on their pursuit to go around the modest total. The partnership between Tiripano and Masvaure helped the host avoid falling in an embarrassing situation after top and lower batting orders collapsed. It was a little bit annoying for the viewers supporting Zimbabwe to see them losing wickets one after the other despite knowing the fact that it was necessary to put forward their strengths.

All blame of poor show can’t be put on the team as they get to play only a few Test matches. Due to the lack of exposure to the longest format, the Zimbabweans fumbled. Possibility of ups and downs existed since the early hour of the play. Only two extras were bowled by New Zealand. Neil Wagner changed the story completely for the opponents, taking six wickets in 20.5 overs. Southee and Santner got two wickets each. Ish Sodhi and Trent Boult did not get any wicket. Viewers were keenly looking forward to the performance of New Zealand after opening duo Martin Guptill and Tom Latham arrived on the crease.  The 29-year-old Guptill will resume his batting today at 14 runs, along with three fours and Tom Latham at 16 runs (4 x 2). The Kiwis accumulated 32 runs for the loss of no wickets.

Zimbabwe need to ponder what all can be done to come back in the game. Inspired performances by the teammates can do the bit. Fans of the home team wonder whether they are going to witness any domination or will carry on seeing the Kiwis in power. Day one completely belonged to Neil Wagner, what he himself will remember for a few years to come. Five-wicket haul is always special. Since he got career’s best figures of 6/41 by bowling in wonderful line and length, the Kiwis may think of expecting a similar show from him in the future contests too. Eyes are now struck on today’s play where bright sunny morning is ready to greet the players. Viewers are ready for all the action. Regardless of the fact that game of each day is important in Test cricket, progress of both teams on Day 2 will closely be watched. Captain Graeme Cremer, Sikandar Raza, Michael Chinouya, Donald Tiripano and Prince Masvaure will try to bowl brilliantly on the wicket and give jolts to the opponents as early as possible so that their chance of shining remains on the card. At the same time, the Kiwis wish to have a good lead, which could add to pressure on the hosting party. As of now, New Zealand trail by 132 runs.

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