Is it time to start worrying?

HARARE - It goes without saying that today is an absolute must win game for Zimbabwe when they take on the Netherlands, who are undoubtedly the more confident of the two teams after they dispatched the UAE by six wickets on Monday in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers.

In the short time we have been given to reflect on the disappointing loss to Ireland, a very serious question has raised its head, and to be honest, has probably been on the lips of fans and players for some time now.

A silent question that everybody has in their minds, but up to now has been too scared to ask.

This question can no longer be swept under the carpet, because after the disappointment on Monday, we now have to do some serious soul searching.

We have to ask ourselves if this was just a good performance by a rapidly improving Irish team, or are these signs of decay creeping into the team?

Of course, we do have to try and be rational at all times, and remember that the shortest version of the game is full of twists, turns and surprises, some of those surprises can be very unpleasant as we ourselves discovered on Monday.

But after processing that data, our minds will go back to a warm-up game that was played last Wednesday, and the horror and shame still leaves a decidedly foul taste in the mouth.

Due to net run rates, this crucial match against the Netherlands is not only a must-win match, but Zimbabwe have to also ensure that they win by a relatively handsome margin in order to increase their overall net run rate.

The Netherlands are no strangers to finding themselves in the limelight. Who will ever forget the shock win they pulled off against England at Lords, the home of cricket back in 2009?

Like Ireland, the Netherlands have been on a healthy diet of cricket, both at first-class level, as well as international level, and despite the fact that they have also lost some senior players, they still have a confident and positive vibe about them, which naturally makes them a dangerous team to play, especially against a team who has the firepower, but is lacking in self-belief and confidence.

It isn't often that players and in particular captains Tweet after disappointing matches, but one couldn't help but want to extend a hand of encouragement to the entire team and coaching staff, as Brendan Taylor Tweeted a heartfelt message, saying that he and the team were deeply disappointed with the result, and that they would like to "apologise" to all their supporters.

Taylor's tweet was a touching gesture, but one can't help but feel despair in that Tweet, and one wonders if the team will be able to pick themselves up and ensure that they still stay in the hunt to progress to the Super 10 stage.

Comments (2)

163 was a big enough total to defend. Unfortunately our bowlers did a messy job. Hopefully they will improve to today

Sir Jephy - 19 March 2014

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