Chevrons batting against the odds
THE odds will be heavily staked against Zimbabwe when they step onto the park at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley, South Africa to face the Proteas in an ODI series opener today. Zimbabwe has beaten South Africa only twice, at the 1999 ICC World and during a triangular series, also featuring England, in 2000. The Proteas have won 35 of the 38 meetings between the two neighbours with one match ending as a no-result. But battling against the odds is what the Zimbabwe national cricket team players promised to do when they visited Thabo Ncube, a 14-year-old Falcon College student who is battling cancer, prior to their departure for South Africa. Batsman Sean Williams is itching to deliver a man of the match performance for Ncube. “A man of the match performance will give me an opportunity to bring up his name on national television. I was in the same house (Hervey Boy) as him at Falcon so his case is close to my heart,” said Williams.
The batsman, who turned 32 on Wednesday last week, added that a win will be the perfect birthday present.
“Just a win will do it for me no matter who raises their bat,” said ‘Willo’ ahead of the first game of the three match ODIs series.
There is silent confidence in the Zimbabwe camp that they can upset a South African side that is missing captain Faf du Plesis and Hashim Amla (injuries) as well as the rested pair of Quinton de Kock and David Miller.
And for someone who has played international cricket for 13 years, Williams says he now fully understands his game. “I would sweep too early in my innings a while ago but now I get myself in, try to build partnerships and at the end of my innings, strive to have 100 percent strike rate. I feel in national games, that is crucial, partnerships. “Be busy, singles are the most important runs in cricket, rotation of strike, that’s my game. I hold value on my wicket even in the nets,” he said. Today’s ODI is William’s first since the heartbreaking afternoon when Zimbabwe lost to UAE by three runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifying match they needed to win to book a place at next year’s World Cup. “To be honest, my life came to a standstill when we missed the World Cup. I have never seen my teammates hurt more than I did that day. “It was tears and silence, deafening silence. To be honest it still hurts but I am back to make the effort to change that.” As a result of that heart shattering experience on March 22, 2018, Williams has set himself new goals. “I would like to be the one that is standing at the crease when the winning runs are hit in crunch crucial games. “I would like also to be the one that’s responsible along with (Brendon) Taylor and the boys to bring the crowds back to Harare Sports Club. I feel like we owe the fans something,” he disclosed.
Sean Williams (left) is itching to deliver a Man-of-the-match performance for Thabo Ncube (right), a Falcon College student who has been diagnosed with cancer