Consistency is always a winner

HARARE - Cricket in Zimbabwe has always been bedevilled by lack of consistency.Dating back to the so called glory days when the Flower brothers, Heath Streak and the rest were at their peak, right up to the present.

Zimbabwean cricket teams, and quite possibly sport in general have never been able to sustain long periods of consistency, which causes tremendous frustration and indeed anger to those loyal fans who have more often than not have to endure a barrage of at times derogatory remarks by the international media.

Yesterday’s second ODI match against New Zealand springs to mind.

After the euphoria of Sunday’s seven wicket win, the sparks seem to go out of the Zimbabweans, as is so often the case after a good outing.

Either that, or New Zealand upped their game considerably to make Zimbabwe look rather ordinary after Sunday's win.

Though to be fare, New Zealand were the team who looked at sea on Sunday, probably due to the fact that the Black Caps were a bit short of match practice leading up to the series.

The World Cup finalists, however, put Sunday's loss behind them with a typical all round performance that has made them the team they are.

Elton Chigumbura seems to have been caught up in the whole toss debacle, and may at this point of time be struggling to read the pitch conditions.

Having said that, the Black Caps were ruthless with the new ball, and Craig Ervine in particular got a thorough working over with a number of extremely well directed bouncers, two of which hit him on the helmet.

This rough treatment softened Sunday's match winner up nicely, and it didn't come as much of a surprise when medium pacer Grant Elliott got through Ervine's defence, and castled his stumps for just 12 runs.

Despite Ervine missing out, the idea of him batting at number three may prove to be a good one.

It would be sad to see the coaching staff drop him back to his number five spot, after one failure.

The number three position is foreign territory for Ervine, especially against the new ball which both Matt Henry and Mitchell McClenaghan utilised to perfection.

The Black Caps seamers weren't afraid to bend their backs and bowl back of a length which caused considerable discomfort to Zimbabwe's top order batsmen.

Zimbabwe would have been hoping for some respite when Grant Elliott and leg spinner Ish Sodhi were introduced, but it was the opposite as the medium pacer and leg spinner claimed the crucial wickets of Ervine, Regis Chikabva, Elton Chigumbura and Chamu Chibhabha in a relatively short space of time.

Sodhi, who took a pounding on Sunday was outstanding yesterday, his combination of quicker balls and wrong ones caused havoc in the middle overs on a dry pitch, which in truth was probably prepared for the Zimbabwean spinners.

A decision which backfired on the home side with Sodhi taking 3-38 from his 10 overs.

Raza Butt made a bit of history of his own, becoming the first Zimbabwean batsman batting at number six or lower to score an ODI hundred, and one assumes that his ninth wicket partnership of 89 will stand for some time, as did the previous partnership of 55 between the late Kevin Curran and Peter Rawson, which stood for 32 years.

The sad irony of this loss is that a pitch was prepared to suit the Zimbabwean spinners, yet the selectors opted to play one spinner in Graeme Cremer, and then try and fill the second spinner's role by using Sean Williams, and Raza Butt.

Surely the option of John Nyumbu would have been a better one?

Nyumbu is capable of tying up an end, but he also has the ability of producing match changing spells, depending on how the captain chooses to use him.

Zimbabwe will be happy that two batsmen have been able to register hundreds, and Chibhabha is continued to score freely and fluently at the top of the order, but fans will be wondering how much longer they will have to wait, before celebrating a series win over a major cricket playing nation, other than Bangladesh.

The last time Zimbabwe enjoyed a series win over a higher ranked team, was back in January of 2001, when the Heath Streak lead team beat the Black caps in New Zealand, and their last home series win over a higher ranked team, was against the same team in October 2000.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.