The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda in Bloemfontein, South Africa
ZIMBABWE captain, Hamilton Masakadza is gunning for victory against South Africa when the two sides clash in the second One Day International at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Wednesday afternoon in what would be his 200th ODI since he made his debut in 2001.
It was actually against South Africa at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on 23 September 2001 that Masakadza made his ODI debut as a fresh faced 19-year old in a match where he contributed just 11 runs before he was run out with Zimbabwe beaten by 153 runs.
With Zimbabwe having gone down by five wickets in the first One Day International at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly on Sunday, Masakadza is keen to see the Chevrons bounce back with a win to keep the three-match contest alive.
“Obviously to go a little better than we did in the first game and get a victory so that we keep the series alive, of course being such a short series we can’t afford to slip up anymore so we have to make sure that we get a victory tomorrow,’’ Masakadza said.
Only three players have appeared in more than 200 ODI for Zimbabwe. Grant Flower played the highest number of ODIs with 221, his brother Andy 213 and Elton Chigumbura 209.
Bloemfontein in a special place for the veteran batsman since it was here where he spent three years while pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing at the University of the Free State. He could have surpassed the 200 ODI mark a long time ago had it not been for that decision to further his studies, which meant he had to put his international cricket career on hold.
“It’s fantastic coming back home to my second home, it’s really nice that I would get to play my 200th here, I think I wouldn’t really had it at any other way, I am really looking forward to it,’’ he said.
Reflecting on the opening match of the series where the Chevrons were bowled out for 117, their lowest ever total in ODIs against South Africa on South African soil, Masakadza felt that they should have changed their approach since the wicket was a low scoring track.
“I think the biggest thing was we should have adjusted a little bit earlier and realised that it was going to be a much lower scoring game that we initially thought and we should have adjusted and held back a little bit more,’’ Masakadza said.
He is certainly looking forward to a much better than wicket than the one they had in Kimberly which turned out to be unpredictable.
“It’s a much bigger ground and hopefully a much better wicket, a lot more running to be done and I think there will be a lot more scoring with the twos and threes than with the boundaries like it would been in Kimberly.”
On Tuesday, the Chevrons conducted a coaching session for school children at Heidedal Cricket Oval before having their own practice at the match venue in the afternoon.
Despite the team struggling with the bat in Kimberly on Sunday, coach Lalchand Rajput does not have much options to turn to with Ryan Murray and TinasheKamunhukamwe lacking in terms of experience.
Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sean Williams and Chigumbura should once again be entrusted with the job of scoring the much needed runs for the Chevrons.
Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta and Wellington Masakadza bowled really well but just did not have enough runs to defend. If the batsmen give the bowlers something to defend today, then Zimbabwe are certainly in with a chance.
Zimbabwe ODI Squad: Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Richard Ngarava, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wellington Masakadza, Ryan Murray, Tendai Chatara