After a shocking loss to Zimbabwe in the first match of the ongoing ODI series, New Zealand had to win the second ODI against the African nation in order to take the series to a decider and how well did the Black Caps play as they won the second game by 10 wickets at Harare Sports Club.
The series is currently tied at one game each and the third ODI of the series has created a winner takes all scenario at Harare Sports Club on Friday. Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore might have been disappointed with the performance of his team in the second ODI and will ask it to raise the game to the next level in the third match.
Hence the final ODI of the series has all the makings of a riveting affair.
However, the Zimbabwe batsmen have risen to the occasion with the bat in the series as the first ODI witnessed Craig Ervine scoring an entertaining century and helping the home team win the match.
The second ODI also saw Sikandar Raza shine as he scored a brilliant hundred coming into bat at number seven, but his innings went in vain as the New Zealand opening pair of Martin Guptill and Tom Latham scored a century each and reached the target of 235 runs in the 43rd over.
The home team bowlers need to get their act right and deliver the goods. New Zealand scoring 230 odd runs without losing a single wicket does not speak good about the Zimbabwean bowlers.
New Zealand opener Latham felt it was the Black Caps bowlers, who helped the team set up the victory in the second ODI. The New Zealand bowlers will be eager to come up with a repeat performance in the third ODI. Ish Sodhi was the best bowler on the day with three wickets in his name.
"I think the way we started at the top, I think the boys with the new ball set the tone. I think they were hard, intimidating and getting a wicket in the second over (sic) was nice. We did really well to get into that position," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Latham as saying.
"They played well towards the end of the innings but I think it showed what sort of wicket it was. The fielding was a lot better today and was close to where we usually are."
Zimbabwe will need to improve upon their bowling performance if the home team are to defeat the Black Caps, who are without some key players including Brendon McCullum.
With New Zealand travelling to South Africa after the Zimbabwe series, the visitors need to win the third ODI against Zimbabwe and gain confidence before they play the Proteas, which is going to be a tough series for the Black Caps.
Where to Watch Live
New Zealand vs Zimbabwe third ODI match has gained huge importance after the series has been tied following Black Caps winning the second ODI. The third ODI is scheduled for 9am local time (12:30pm IST, 8pm BST, 7pm NZ Time) start with live TV coverage on Ten Cricket with live streaming here.
UK viewers can watch the New Zealand vs Zimbabwe third ODI match live on Sky Sports 2/ HD with live streaming option on Sky Go.
Viewers in the US can watch the New Zealand vs Zimbabwe third ODI match live on Willow TV with live streaming on Willow TV.