CRICKET: Chevrons in Black Caps test

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    BATTING POWERPLAY . . . In-form batsman Brendan Taylor hopes his pre-tournament displays can inspire the Chevrons to glory at the World Cup

    BATTING POWERPLAY . . . In-form batsman Brendan Taylor hopes his pre-tournament displays can inspire the Chevrons to glory at the World Cup

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    There is no doubt the Zimbabwe Cricket team’s mettle and readiness will be tested when they face ICC World Cup co-hosts New Zealand in the first official warm up match at Bert Sutcliffe Oval tomorrow.

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    The Chevrons will have some confidence after winning 3-0 in the unofficial series against a local New Zealand side, Northern Districts XI.

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    Winning is better than losing and as much as it gave them some momentum, more crucially, they got a feel of the conditions.

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    But can they take that into battle against the ‘Big Boys’ at international level?

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    The Black Caps, who are one of the genuine World Cup title contenders, could give a true picture of how the Chevrons will fare at the competition.

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    If Zimbabwe can be said to have some confidence, what more of New Zealand, who outclassed Pakistan in a two-match series that came after crushing Sri Lanka in a seven match series?

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    This will be a vital warm up fixture for Zimbabwe, who had a modest preparation considering the number of international games they played especially towards the World Cup.

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    Zimbabwe hosted South Africa before Australia joined in for a tri-series in August.

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    After that series, Zimbabwe toured Bangladesh whose conditions are different from the World Cup co-hosting nations.

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    Prior to their departure for the World Cup, the Zimbabwe players played a few domestic matches, while New Zealand were in a seven match ODI series against Sri Lanka, whom Zimbabwe play in another warm up on Wednesday.

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    Zimbabwe’s top order showed glimpses of form during their Northern District series with Sikandar Raza, Chamu Chibhabha, Brendan Taylor, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine and Hamilton Masakadza getting some runs.

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    The Chevrons’ batting line-up is long especially with inform Solomon Mire coming in at number eight, but now they come up against one of the best bowling attacks in international cricket, the accuracy and swing of Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

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    New Zealand’s batting is destructive too — Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Grant Elliot, Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson — are all match winners.

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    New Zealanders are also excellent fieldmen.

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    Zimbabwe will be tested.

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    Warm up matches don’t usually get much prominence or attention, but for Zimbabwe any international game is crucial considering how scarce they have been.

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    This one is more important because it’s a rehearsal for the World Cup.

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    Next up is Sri Lanka on the World Cup warm up roster.