Kiwis' lesson for Zimbabwe

HARARE - Overmatched and outplayed by a clearly superior opponent in the Test series, you would think New Zealand were in for another hiding by South Africa in the one-dayers.

The Proteas are an extremely talented group of players and as the number one Test team in the world, they are currently taking no prisoners in the five-day format.

If they hit their stride, I don’t doubt that this South Africa team can be as ruthless as the Australian side of 10 years ago and dominate across all three formats of the game.

So the South Africa trip was always going to be a very bumpy ride for the Black Caps, as they were to soon find out in those innings annihilation at Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

But to prevent the mighty Proteas from dominating them in all formats – like the great Australia side would have easily done given that run of form – furnishes clear proof of the New Zealanders’ undying fighting spirit.

I could not help but sit in my chair and admire the Kiwis’ workmanlike performance on Tuesday to clinch the three-match ODI series with a game in hand.  

Coming from that Test battering and recovering to win the ODI series against a team so high on confidence is a characteristic which has been glaringly missing in the Zimbabwe team for a long time.

The Kiwis will fly back home heads high, instead of quietly sneaking back in shame, like our team did last year after being whitewashed in all formats, ironically, by the same New Zealand side.

Dusting off after defeat is an admirable quality in a team. Devoid of these traits, you gradually lose all respect and provide instant ammunition for your detractors.

All too often, when our cricketers get beaten, they stay beaten, a fine example being that forgettable New Zealand tour last year.

While realistically we did not expect a team playing in only its fourth Test match after a six-year absence to win in alien conditions, it would have been explicable had we fared any better in the other two formats.

With the West Indies tour coming up, coach Alan Butcher must demand more and ask his players to show more heart.


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