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Zimbabwe back among international cricket big boys

by Staff reporter
23 Oct 2022 at 04:14hrs | Views
FOR six years, Zimbabwe endured the agony of not appearing at an International Cricket Council major tournament.

In 2018, the Chevrons were presented with a perfect opportunity to qualify for the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup held in England when the qualifier was held in Zimbabwe. A painful defeat at the hands of the United Arab Emirates at Harare Sports Club saw Zimbabwe miss out on a 50 over World Cup where they had appeared since 1983 without missing any of the tournaments held in between.

In July this year, Zimbabwe made sure that home advantage counts in their favour this time around when the country hosted the ICC Men's T20 World Cup global qualifier B. Now coached by one of the country's legends in Dave Houghton, Zimbabwe went unbeaten in the tournament to book a ticket to Australia.

They made it clear that they were not Down Under to make up the numbers last Monday when they slayed Ireland by 31 runs. Zimbabwe suffered a setback last Wednesday, beaten by 31 by West Indies, which meant that their last Group B encounter against Scotland was a must win. Led by a fluent knock of 58 off 54 deliveries by skipper Craig Ervine, the Chevrons took care of Scotland by five wickets to book their spot in the Super 12 stage of the tournament for the first time ever.

It was a brilliant chase against Scotland which meant Zimbabwe advance past the group stage for the first time ever in an ICC T20 World Cup.

Zimbabwe's in-form player Sikandar Raza once again showed his worth after scoring 40 off 23 deliveries having earlier picked up one wicket for 20 runs in his four overs to deservedly walk away with the Player of the Match accolade. Raza's blistering cameo with the bat took Zimbabwe within touching distance of the Super 12, something Ryan Burl and Milton Shumba ensured as the Chevrons cantered to victory with nine balls to spare which saw them top Group B ahead of Ireland who also qualified for the Super 12.

Bangladesh, India, Netherlands, Pakistan and South Africa are Zimbabwe's opponents in the Super 12.

South Africa are their first opponents when the Southern African neighbours clash at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart tomorrow. Four days later, they go up against Pakistan at the Perth Stadium in Perth. On 30 October, Zimbabwe collide with Bangladesh at the Gabba in Brisbane. Netherlands are up next for Zimbabwe on 2 November before they round things off against India on 6 November.

Zimbabwe will look to Raza once again with his all-round exploits. The 36-year old is the tournament's leading run scorer with 136 runs, his best of 82 against Ireland being the highest score by a Zimbabwean batsman at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. Raza has also picked up five wickets with his off spin.

Zimbabwe's seam bowlers have also stood up to be counted with some exceptional bowling so far, in particularly Tendai Chatara, Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani. Chatara, Zimbabwe leading wicket taker in this format with 51 wickets produced a stunning display against Scotland. The 31-year-old picked up two wickets for just 14 runs in his four overs.

Zimbabwe might find the going tough against the likes of India, Pakistan, South Africa but they will certainly fancy their chances against Bangladesh and Netherlands.

Source - The Sunday News