Zim hope for better

LINCOLN - Zimbabwe's bowlers can realistically hope to have more success restricting the batsmen of the United Arab Emirates in Nelson tomorrow, than they did South Africa's in their World Cup opener.

Elton Chigumbura's team made a decent fist of chasing 339 for four in Hamilton on Sunday, eventually bowled out 62 runs short against one of the tournament favourites.

That 2015 baptism against their neighbours always promised a tough and almost certainly unequal task for Zimbabwe, and after some early promise with the ball, they duly ran into a record-breaking and unbroken stand of 256 between South Africa centurions David Miller and JP Duminy.

Only spinners Tafadzwa Kamungozi and Sean Williams emerged with respectable figures, pace bowler Solomon Mire suffering most by conceding 61 runs in six wicketless overs.

The UAE have been known to pile into opposition attacks too, and it was veteran Khurram Khan who took them mighty close in their final warm-up match against tournament debutants Afghanistan in pursuit of 308 for nine at Melbourne's Junction Oval ground last week.

But even on the compact playing area in Nelson, where Ireland memorably chased more than 300 to get their campaign off to a flier against West Indies, Zimbabwe can be heartened that the assault may not be quite so sustained this time.

Khan, of course, will be among those hoping otherwise.

At 43, though, albeit with only 13 international appearances under his belt for a country who have limited opportunity to play at this level, he knows better than to invite extra pressure.

The left-handed linchpin of the UAE's middle order said: "I am just happy to be here.

"I am having the best time of my life. Cricketing-wise, if you see my performance the last couple of years it is amazing, and I am enjoying every moment of it." – Sportinglife

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