Thanks for the cricket lesson

HARARE - The last five days have been days filled with breathtaking cricket, and days that the community of Sylhet will never forget.

From the two last ball finishes, to the amazing run chase by the Netherlands, which eliminated both Zimbabwe and Ireland, who were favourites to progress to the Super 10 stage.

Associate members, or non associate members, the Super 10 stage has a very hard act to follow, and maybe the likes of Australia, South Africa, and especially England, who have always been derogatory towards the lesser nations will think twice, in fact, think several times before running their mouths off, and running the lesser nations down.

For once, there was a real fairy tale ending to the qualifying round, as the much fancied and well respected Irish men and Zimbabwe were kicked out in a blink of an eye so to speak on Firday.

The day started with a few optimistic fans predicting a miracle outcome which would see Zimbabwe go through to join the big 10.

There was a miracle alright, but, a miracle of a totally different kind, as the Dutch proved that you should never give up, regardless of the odds stacked against you.

The Dutch broke almost every record there was to break in T20 international cricket in their quest to qualify.

They scored the most runs in a power play, (91) and also hit the most sixes in an international innings (18).

Both Ireland and the Netherlands did what Zimbabwe were unable to do for the majority of the tournament, and that was to play with freedom.

While Zimbabwe played with caution, the Irish men and the Dutch approached the event with an aggressive attitude and played hard and uncompromising cricket.

Their top order were very aggressive with both their stroke play, and running between the wickets, which put the opposition (UAE and Zimbabwe) on the back foot.

And, although Zimbabwe made early in rows into the Netherlands top order, their middle order not only consolidated but then counter attacked, which very nearly put the game beyond Zimbabwe.

In truth, and this will probably anger many supporters, Zimbabwe didn't deserve to go through to the next round.

Both Ireland and the Netherlands were by far the more superior in the group, showing athleticism in the field, and were able to back the fielding up with some wonderful enervation with the bat.

Some positives to take out of this short tournament was unquestionably the consistency of Tendai Chatara.

At the age of 23, Chatara has shown a combination of skill and maturity far beyond the limited amount of international cricket he has played, while with the exception of Friday’s failure, Brendan Taylor also put in two solid performances which will hopefully put him in good stead for the upcoming IPL.

Elton Chigumbura also had his moments of basking in the sun of success with ruthless knocks against Ireland, and in particular the brutal assault against the UAE which momentarily gave Zimbabwe the fleetest of chances of progressing to the next round.

The question however is: What now?

Where do we go to from here?

The fact of not qualifying for the Super 10 must surely be a reflection on the state of the game in our country.

So, will Zimbabwe Cricket adopt the ruthless approach that the ECB approached after England's loss in the Ashes?

Or will they continue to have faith in the current members in charge, and put this disappointment down to the lack of game time?

Whatever decision Zimbabwe Cricket make, it is fair to say that Ireland, and in particular the Netherlands have given Zimbabwe a lesson in how to play positive and match winning cricket.

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