Zim­babwe in must-win match against Windies

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Mehluli Sibanda

ZIM­BABWE go up against West In­dies in the sixth and fi­nal pre­lim­i­nary fix­ture of the tri­an­gu­lar One Day In­ter­na­tional cricket chal­lenge to­day with a place in Sun­day’s fi­nal at stake.

The win­ner of to­day’s con­test will meet Sri Lanka who booked their spot Sun­day’s fi­nal with a one run vic­tory over West In­dies on Wed­nes­day.

While they de­feated Sri Lanka by 62 runs to se­cure a bonus point in the sec­ond match of the se­ries at Harare Sports Club, West In­dies have had the in­ex­pe­ri­ence in their batting line up ex­posed in the two matches they played at Queens Sports Club.

Last Satur­day, the Ca­lypso Kings failed to get four runs in the last over against Zim­babwe in a match that ended in a tie.

On Wed­nes­day, they again fell short in their run chase against Sri Lanka, some­thing skip­per Ja­son Holder at­trib­uted to lack of ex­pe­ri­ence in their batting line up.

“I think in­ex­pe­ri­ence there is ob­vi­ously sit­u­a­tions where we are not ac­cus­tomed be­ing in, it’s still a rel­a­tively young side. Ev­ery­body is try­ing to make a mark and I think it boils down to in­ex­pe­ri­ence hav­ing that knowhow in the end to get us across the line. We were set in the be­gin­ning quite nicely, Evin Lewis played an ex­cep­tional knock to put us in a sit­u­a­tion that we were in but un­for­tu­nately we were not able to pull this off,’’ said Holder.

Zim­babwe coach Heath Streak is well aware that a win guar­an­tees them a place in the fi­nal while a loss means that they are re­duced to spec­ta­tors on Sun­day.

Streak de­scribed to­day’s en­counter as a semi-fi­nal since the win­ner goes on to play in the de­cider. He feels that they should have scored about 270 when they played West In­dies last Satur­day.

“Who­ever wins out of these two teams is in the fi­nal. We want to win, we have to play to win, lots of things to im­prove from the last game, we should have got­ten 270, we lost wick­ets at the end which slowed us down,’’ said Streak.

There have been calls for ei­ther Chamunorwa Chib­habha or Brian Chari to be axed as the open­ers have not given Zim­babwe a good plat­form up­front with yet to be capped Tari­sai Musakanda be­ing sug­gested as an op­tion.

Streak, how­ever, be­lieves that Musakanda is not an open­ing al­ter­na­tive at this stage.

It is yet to be seen if Musakanda earns his in­ter­na­tional de­but against West In­dies to­day and who makes way for him.

Craig Ervine, Sikan­dar Raza, Sean Wil­liams, El­ton Chigum­bura, Peter Moor hold the key with the bat for Zim­babwe. Christo­pher Mpofu, Don­ald Tiri­pano, skip­per Graeme Cre­mer, Tendai Chisoro and Wil­liams carry the hopes for the home team with the ball.

For the tourists, their high ex­pec­ta­tion with the bat are in Evin Lewis who cramped his way to 148 against Sri Lanka, Shai Hope the scorer of a cen­tury when they met Zim­babwe, Johnson Charles, Kraigg Brath­waite and Rov­man Pow­ell.

Holder is ex­pected to spear­head the bowl­ing at­tack with the aid of Shan­non Gabriel, Sulie­man Benn, Car­los Brath­waite, Ash­ley Nurse and Jonathan Carter. — @Mdaw­ini_29

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