Zimbabwe seek Scotland scalp

NAGPUR - Zimbabwe were not at their best in the opening Group B contest against Hong Kong, and yet were able to come through with a fairly comfortable win to open their account in the ICC World Twenty20 2016 on Tuesday.

The batting had its moments but by and large didn’t live up to reputation, the fielding was patchy and the bowling left a lot to be desired.

Should these chinks rear their heads when they take on Scotland at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium today, Zimbabwe could well be in for a bumpy ride.

Unlike Hong Kong, Scotland are a lot more to challenge Hamilton Masakadza’s unit with because they have a powerful top order and a good pace unit.

Their middle order didn’t fire against Afghanistan, but should Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey come out swinging like they did on Tuesday night, the middle order too might step up.

Batsmen like Matt Machan, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington and Preston Mommsen, the skipper, have what it takes to get the board moving at a fairly brisk pace.

None of these batsmen capitalised on the perfect start offered by the openers against Afghanistan, but it’s a lesson worth learning early in the tournament.

The problem is that Scotland have three group games to make their way into the Super 10 and has already squandered one chance, meaning the pressure on them is two-fold.

Batting aside, bowling, which relies all too heavily on pace, too perhaps needs a change in composition.

Despite having witnessed the first game and recognising that the pitch had little for the pacemen, Scotland went in with only one full-time spinner — Mark Watt — and four pacers.

Machan chipped in with a couple of overs but they went for 22 runs. Even Watt finished with figures of 1 for 30 from 4 overs, but the left-arm spinner looked the most threatening.

Perhaps, bringing in either Michael Leask or Con de Lange and sacrificing one paceman will give the necessary balance going forward.

Their potential reservations about a change in combination perhaps stems from the fact that the four-one split worked well during the ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2015 , where they finished joint winner with Netherlands to qualify for the ICC World T20 2016, but those games were held in Scotland and Ireland in seamer-friendly conditions.

“That is not something we have considered so far, but we’ll take a call after looking at the kind of surface we are playing on,” said Grant Bradburn, the Scotland coach after the team’s 14-run loss. — ICC

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