Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national cricket team coach, Heath Streak is not amused at all by his team’s performance ahead of next month’s International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
The Chevrons went down by 154 runs to Afghanistan in the first One Day International at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium last Friday. A poor all round display saw Zimbabwe concede 333 runs, which turned out to be Afghanistan’s second highest total in ODIs. That score was built around the 114 runs by Rahmat Shah and Najibullah Zadran’s 81.
Zimbabwe went to be bowled out for 179 runs, opener Solomon Mire the highest run scorer with 34. Leg spinner Rashid Khan continued to trouble the Zimbabwean batsmen with four wickets for 26 runs. The defeat in the first ODI came a few days after Zimbabwe lost the Twenty20 International series against Afghanistan 2-0.
Streak must be a concerned man as this is not the best time for his players to be out of form. Come 4 March, Zimbabwe take to the field in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in their own backyard. From the 10-team tournament, only two will progress to next year’s Cricket World Cup in England.
“Our batters need to turn this around, Hammy (Masakadza), Craig (Ervine), BT (Brendan Taylor), Waller (Malcolm) and Burl (Ryan). We are working hard to help them but we cat bat for them….very frustrating,’’ Streak said.
There is not much time for the Chevrons to ponder on where they got it wrong as they take to the field against the same opponents in the second ODI in Sharjah today.
Zimbabwe have to bowl well upfront, not the way they went about their business last Friday. A lot was expected from left arm pace bowler Brian Vitori who was playing his first ODI since his bowling action was cleared by the ICC. Vitori, Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis failed to put pressure on the Afghan batsmen. Skipper Graeme Cremer was the only one who bowled decently with three wickets for 47 runs in 10 overs.
The batting has been a headache for Zimbabwe for a long time with the key batsmen not delivering in the middle. Streak can only hope that his batters hit the right chord in the remaining ODIs against Afghanistan if they fancy any chances of being one of two teams heading to England next year.
Zimbabwe squad against Afghanistan: Graeme Cremer (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Malcolm Waller, Ryan Burl, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza, Solomon Mire, Blessing Muzarabani, Kyle Jarvis,Tendai Chatara, Brian Vitori, Tendai Chisoro — @Mdawini_29