Trent Boult New Zealand Martin Guptill Ross Taylor
New Zealand are favourites for the ODI series against Zimbabwe.Reuters

Despite some of New Zealand's star players such as Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson not playing the upcoming ODI series against Zimbabwe, the Black Caps are considered favourites for the three match ODI series at the Harare Sports Club.

The first ODI will be played on Sunday.

The Black Caps will don a new jersey, which won't have the imprint of New Zealand, but 'Aotearoa,' the the Maori word for New Zealand. Irrespective of whether it's New Zealand or Aotearoa, the Black Caps are expected to come out all guns blazing and continue their good performance in world cricket, especially in ODI cricket.

New Zealand were one of the best teams in the ICC World Cup 2015, as they lost only in the finals of the competition,to Australia, though they lost the ODI series against England in June this year.

Their opponents -- Zimbabwe -- might not have been winning of late, but their performance has been something to take note of, especially their recent series against India, where they looked competitive and came close to winning some matches. 

Though Zimbabwe lost their last ODI series to India 3-0, the African side will be more than eager to improve upon their performance when they face New Zealand.

Zimbabwe's coach, Dav Whatmore, is also aware of his team's performance of late, where they have played well, but failed to register a win.

"Most of [our recent] games, we've been pretty competitive without having those last few ounces of effort to cross the line. That's been good to a point, but we have to find a way to translate a few more of those efforts into victories," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Whatmore as saying.

New Zealand, therefore, aware of the quality of cricket that will be required to defeat the home team. New Zealand will be led by Kane Williamson, who is expecting a tough challenge from Zimbabwe after their performance against India.

"To take on India the way [Zimbabwe] did was an extremely good effort, in conditions that India are probably quite suited to. We're certainly expecting a tough challenge," said Williamson.

Though New Zealand might be without some big names, Williamson will be depending on some experienced campaigners such as Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott and Nathan McCullum.

The Black Caps will also have an eye on the next tour of South African and hence, would use this series to prepare for the mega series starting 14 August. 

Where to Watch Live

New Zealand vs Zimbabwe first ODI is scheduled for 9am local time (12:30pm IST, 8pm BST, 7pm NZ Time) start with live TV coverage on Ten Action, with live streaming here.

UK viewers can watch the game on Sky Sports 2/ HD with live streaming option on Sky Go.

Viewers in the US can watch the match live on Willow TV with live streaming on Willow TV Online.