Zim cricket pays price

HARARE - The Zimbabwe cricket team paid the prize of make-shift preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 after losing both warm-up matches last week in Sri Lanka.

Zimbabwe succumbed to defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh, which gives them little hope when they start their campaign against the hosts Sri Lanka tomorrow in Hambantota.

The locals, who are in Group C with hosts and neighbouring South Africa, arrived in Colombo last Tuesday ahead of their first warm-up with Ireland on Thursday.

Zimbabwe subsequently lost the match to the affiliate side by 54 runs.

Seamers Chris Mpofu and Brian Vitori gave the team a good start with a wicket each inside 4.3 overs to leave the opponent reeling at 36 for two.

However, a 83-run third wicket partnership between top scorer Niall O‘Brien (62) and number three batsman Ed Joyce swung the match in Ireland’s favour.

Poor bowling at death by the Zimbabweans ensured that the opponent reached 181-5 in their allotted 20 overs.

Mpofu finished with three wickets for 39 runs in four overs while debutant pace bowler Richard Muzhange and Vitori each got a single wicket.

Zimbabwe’s chase got off to a horrible start after opener Vusi Sibanda was out for a first ball duck.

Taylor soon followed perishing for three runs and on song batsman Hamilton Masakadza fell for a gritty 27-ball 44 runs.

Craig Ervine promoted to bat at number four chipped in with 24 runs while Prosper Utseya (23) and Ray Price unbeaten anchored the tail with perfection as the team finished on 127-8 in 20 overs.

Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher said that his team did not get as much time to acclimatise as Ireland and the other teams.

“It wasn’t the best possible lead in but only had one day to acclimatise and Ireland has been in Sri Lanka for nearly two weeks so better adjusted, and a decent side,” Butcher told the Daily News from Sri Lanka. Butcher had hoped that his charges would turn the tables against Bangladesh on Saturday but lost the match by five wickets with 10 balls remaining.

Taylor lost the toss and was put in to bat with Zimbabwe reaching 134-6 after 20 overs.

The Tigers of Bangladesh reached the target with five wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare.

Zimbabwe’s lack of acclimatisation time might come back to haunt them again when they square off against the hosts at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota tomorrow. Their final Group C against the Proteas is on Thursday.

Zimbabwe Twenty20 Squad


Brendan Taylor (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Raymond Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Foster Mutizwa.

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