Zim needs teamwork

HARARE - It's rather sad and somewhat ironic that Zimbabwean teams always find themselves having to qualify for finals or major events the hard way.

Be it football, rugby or cricket, we never, or at least, hardly ever qualify the simple or easier way by winning their group matches.

Almost always, they have to rely on another team to do them a favour, or in this case, bonus points and net run rates.

Today's game is indeed a game that would require a full team effort, should Zimbabwe want to play in Saturday's final.

It may sound like the obvious is being stated when saying that a team effort is required - after all, cricket is a team sport, but in so many Zimbabwean victories against major teams, it has mostly been a super human effort by one player who was responsible for the upset.

Henry Olonga's three wickets in one over against India in the 1999 World Cup, Eddo Brandes’ heroics against England in the 1992 World Cup, and again in 1997 at Harare Sports club.

Charlie Lock's five wickets in 11 balls against New Zealand in 1996.

The list goes on and on and on, and the reader would become utterly bored going through it.

The point is that very seldom has it actually been a collective team effort that has won Zimbabwe matches.

Today however, it requires a win, and a substantial win at that if Zimbabwe want to play in the final on Saturday.

But are we possibly expecting a bit too much from the team?

Their last two outings have been interesting to say the least.

Last Friday, they had the perfect opportunity to cause a major upset by beating South Africa, but unfortunately the batsmen lost their nerve and consequently lost the game.

Two days later, they held their nerve, and chased down a small total and put the cat among the pigeons with the famous three-wicket win over Australia.

Today, Zimbabwe will have to express themselves in a positive and aggressive manner.

The seamers will have to come to the party and deliver.

They can't take it for granted that the spinners who up to this point have done such a fantastic job will be able to do it again.

The batsmen have to also understand that at some point, Elton Chigumbura's luck will run out at the toss.

Should the Proteas win the toss, the likelihood would be that Zimbabwe would be asked to bat.

This may actually not be such a disaster as most people make it out to be.

The pitch will obviously be another slow and dry one to suit the Zimbabwean spinners, and setting a total may not be the worst thing in the world.

Nathan Lyon's spell of 4-44 very nearly won the game for Australia on Sunday, and if anything, South Africa does have a slight weakness against spin.

It is also imperative for the batsmen to be as positive as possible, should they have to bat first.

Whether the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will play or not is debatable, but even so a positive approach is of the utmost importance.

This doesn't mean that the batsmen have to play recklessly, but the likes of Tino Mawoyo, Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor have to do their utmost to keep the scoreboard ticking by rotating the strike.

Singles are a must, boundaries are a bonus, South Africa may possibly approach this final round robin match with a touch of complacency, despite their emphatic denials, and their assurances that they always take their (little brothers) seriously.

Zimbabwe need to be alert and aware, and pounce on any lapses in the field, with the ball, and with the bat.

Do we expect another Sunday miracle?

Probably not.

Is there anything wrong in hoping and believing in another Sunday miracle?

Definitely not.

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