Chevrons bat­ting against the odds

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Brighton Zhawi

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

Sean Wil­liams

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