Mental strength key in ODI final

HARARE - It goes without saying that Bangladesh has mastered the art of playing on Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club, whose conditions are pretty much similar to the subcontinent where they come from.

The wicket is traditionally flatter and the bowlers have to sweat for their wickets, with spinners in with an upper hand over their pace counterparts.

On Sunday, Zimbabwe setup a potentially-thrilling one-day series decider tomorrow courtesy of a six-wicket win with 13 balls remaining over the Tigers.

The win saw the three-match series being levelled ahead of tomorrow’s decisive encounter.

The host had suffered a 121-run defeat in the first ODI at the same venue after the batting department failed to complement their bowlers.

Although Zimbabwe is at home, the team has not utilised the facility well enough since August 2011 when they were beaten in the last two ODIs by the same opponents, although they had taken an assailable series lead.

Bangladesh won the admiration of many after they beat the host by 143 runs in the second and final Teletalk Test match to level the series one all.

That it took the Asian side to adapt quickly and understand the Harare Sports Club wicket
better than the hosts, following the first Test defeat, is a huge positive for them.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor admitted that the visitors had bounced back stronger and were favourites heading into the limited overs, where the conditions at Queens Sports Club suit their style of play.

“It’s gonna be even harder in Bulawayo, the wicket suits them, it’s a similar wicket to what they have back home,” Taylor said.

“It’s gonna be tough, but it’s a challenge and we feel we can do well when it comes to the limited overs and certainly looking forward to the games.”

Mental strength will be crucial for Zimbabwe. The team currently engage the services of a  psychologist, whose wage bill stands at a whopping $1 500 per session. But is it going to be enough to see Zimbabwe through.

“I think our mental process; we are a team that practices really hard and technically we are, okay, but I think our mental strength must come into play,” he said.

“I think guys do the hard work for a good solid hour and then tend to find ways to get out. That’s pretty frustrating and I think we can all dig dip into our heads and find ways to be a little bit sharper, that can help us in a small way.”

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