Lacklustre Zim lose dead rubber

HARARE - Although bitterly disappointed with the series loss, Irish skipper William Porterfield will be happy with the result of the third and final ODI played between his side and Zimbabwe here yesterday.

Zimbabwe on the other hand, would or at least should be kicking themselves for not making it a 3-0 clean sweep.

The last time Zimbabwe were able to achieve a whitewash, was back in 2009 when they beat Kenya 5-0 in Kenya.

Zimbabwe’s last home series whitewash was back in 2003 against the same country when they won a three-match series 3-0 ahead of the World Cup.

Zimbabwe’s decision to leave out key players was a rather strange one to put it mildly.

Yes, Zimbabwe had won the series, and yes, it is always good to see younger players given a chance, but Zimbabwe are hardly in a position to rest on their laurels, even if they have just won a series.

Tinashe Panyangara is Zimbabwe’s most experienced seamer, and in truth hasn’t exactly covered himself with glory when returning to bowl his second and third spells.

He has been outstanding with the new ball, but has lacked penetration with the older ball, which has cost him and his team dearly on a number of occasions, and therefore he should have been in the final XI to try and work on his yorker at the back end of the innings.

The omission of Craig Ervine, who scored a match winning half century in the first game and a series winning unbeaten century in the second ODI, left everybody flummoxed, and the only sane reason or explanation we could come up with, is that his hamstring must be playing up again.

Ervine has had a spate of niggles with his hamstrings, and his snappy running between the wickets would have done no favours to the injury.

If he had simply been rested however, one would have to question the logic behind that decision.

The positives to take from this series, is of course Ervine’s contribution with the bat in the first two matches, as well as Sikandar Raza, whose scores of 60 not out, 33 and 50 as well as useful contributions with the ball, and stupendously good fielding would deservedly earn him the man-of- the-series award, and more importantly force the Zimbabwean think-tanks into seriously considering him for captaincy of all three formats. Luke Jongwe continues to nag away with his useful medium fast bowling, and given more time out in the middle will probably develop into a clean striking middle to lower order batsman, though he clearly has to work on his communication when running between the wickets, as he has been involved in a fair amount of run outs in his short international career.

Zimbabwe also have to work on what is very clearly a psychological problem they face when losing the toss and having to bat first.

The Irish seamers were on the money, of that there is no doubt, and they also seemed to run in with a lot more intent than the Zimbabwean seamers did when they bowled first.

Ireland’s seamers attacked the crease and their fielders backed up their bowlers with the ferocity of tigers, which Zimbabwe weren’t always able to do, save for the occasional glimpses of brilliance by Raza and the safe and reliable hands of Wellington Masakadza, who seems to have a very bright future ahead of him.

Kenyon Ziehl and his crew would probably be reluctant to make any major changes ahead of the series against Afghanistan which starts on Friday in Bulawayo, but depending on how that series goes, we may very well see the normally jovial and smiling convener of selectors crack the whip and in consultation with his co-selectors make a few more changes, starting with a change at the helm of the ship.

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