Masakadza rallies Chevrons
DESPITE the shortest format of cricket having been played at international level for over a decade, Zimbabwe play South Africa for only the fourth time in Twenty20 Internationals when the two teams go against each other at Buffalo Park in East London this evening.
South Africa have won all three matches they have played against Zimbabwe in this version of the game, with the last meeting between the neighbouring countries being at the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. The Proteas won that game by 10 wickets.
For countries that are separated by the Limpopo River to have played each other just three times in the most popular and exciting format of the game just shows the gap between them at the international level.
South Africa are ranked sixth in T20I, while Zimbabwe are 12th.
Chevrons captain Hamilton Masakadza is looking for someone to stand out with a performance good enough to win the game.
“The shorter the game, the closer the teams come together, so with T20 cricket it’s a little bit different because all you need is one guy coming off on the day and that can win you the game. So I’m telling the guys to keep their heads up, keep looking forward and continue being brave and being positive and always looking for that one performance,” Masakadza said.
He is still disappointed with the way they played in the one-day international series, which they lost 3-0, with the T20Is giving them an opportunity to make amends.
“Very disappointing in the one dayers. I thought we didn’t play as well we could have. I thought we left a lot in the tank there, but obviously different series now, different conditions, so looking forward to it.”
Zimbabwe’s batting, which was appalling in the first two ODIs, improved in the final match of the series in Paarl, something Masakadza hopes continues in the T20Is.
“We have done a lot of good things in one dayers. I think the main thing is just to make sure we do it for a little bit longer. We started to look a little better with the bat in the last game, so we just look to build on that. Obviously got to bat a little longer and obviously do the right things a little bit longer with the ball as well,” he said.
Zimbabwe have made five changes to the team, bringing in two batsmen, an all-rounder, pace bowler and spinner.
Chamunorwa Chibhabha and Tarisai Musakanda are the batsmen that have been brought in. Musakanda will certainly look to carry the fine form he showed while leading Zimbabwe Select at last month’s Africa Cup Twenty20 in Mzansi where he scored 182 runs in four matches with two consecutive half centuries in the last two.
Madziva has shown his capabilities in this format of the game and has won matches for Zimbabwe with bat and ball in the past. Christopher Mpofu brings with him a lot of experience at international level, while Tendai Chisoro, a pace bowler turned into a spinner, has proven himself in the shorter format of the game. Zimbabwe will look to batsmen Masakadza, Musakanda, Solomon Mire, Chibhabha, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams and Elton Chigumbura to deliver with the bat.
The bowlers were magnificent in the ODIs, where they claimed 21 South African wickets out of 30, which was a great job looking at the kind of opposition.
Kyle Jarvis, Mpofu and Tendai Chatara should lead the bowling attack. With two leftarm spinners and a leg break bowler, coach Lalchand Rajput is spoiled for choice in the slow bowling department.
Young leg spinner Brandon Mavuta has certainly bowled well in the three ODIs, making it hard to ignore him. This leaves Chisoro and Wellington Masakadza to fight for the remaining spinner’s slot.