Zim face stiff Sri Lankan challenge in must-win clash
A TIE can have several positive affects on a team, especially achieved against a bigger, more fancied opposition.
After a thrilling tie against West Indies, Zimbabwe will be high on confidence, but several challenges lie ahead of them as they take on Sri Lanka in today’s triseries match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Time and again, they’ve crumbled after a promising performance and have let momentum, and more importantly confidence, slip. Take your mind back to June earlier this year. Zimbabwe were blanked by India 3-0 in the One-Day International series, but bounced back to seal a thrilling two-run win in the first Twenty20 International. What happened next? The slipped to a ten-wicket loss in the next game and then ended up conceding the series 2-1.
The quick turnaround time between the matches should help Zimbabwe as they head into a must-win contest. They won’t have a lot of time to focus on the little things that went wrong and can solely focus on things that they did right. However, they cannot afford to turn a blind eye to their middle-order troubles.
In the game against West Indies, Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza laid the perfect platform for the middle order to cash in. However, a batting meltdown meant Zimbabwe slipped from 190 for 2 to 257 all out. It is this uncertainty in the batting ranks that head coach Heath Streak wants to address. The bowlers, on the other hand, have so far managed to get the job done but it’s the batsmen who need to step up and stop playing second fiddle.
Sri Lanka too, are struggling with batting woes. In the paltry chase against the hosts in the first game, Dhananjaya de Silva and Niroshan Dickwella scored runs to ease the team to a win. However, the chinks were exposed by the West Indies pacers in the second game.
Sri Lanka haven’t got the luxury of experience with them but with promising performances coming from several individuals, they walk into the contest with a slight edge. The conditions won’t be alien now for the visitors with them having played a Test series preceding this ODI assignment. A clinical performance here will significantly boost their chances of making it to the final even if they lose to West Indies in the next game.
Team news Zimbabwe: After the tie against West Indies, Zimbabwe aren’t likely to make a change to their XI.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka have got a settled batting order and aren’t likely to make any changes to the squad that faced West Indies. This also presents the youngsters another opportunity to seal a spot in the side before Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal come back. Quotes: “We made mistakes, but the fight shown by the guys was excellent. We were sloppy in the field and dropped catches. But we can take positives from this game [the tie against West Indies]
l Graeme Cremer believes the tie against West Indies can have a catalysing effect on his team’s fortunes. — Cricbuzz