Streak targets series opener

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket coach Heath Streak has challenged his players to draw first blood by winning today’s ODI series opener at Harare Sports Club to unsettle a stubborn touring Afghanistan side.

The visitors have over the years enjoyed a good run of results against Zimbabwe winning both home and away ODI series as well as knocking the hosts out of the ICC World T20 in India last year.

Streak, who will be taking charge of his first series against Afghanistan since he was appointed coach last October, said it is important to start the series on a positive note to build momentum.

“The last two series we have lost to them so we are targeting obviously playing at home to try and win the series and I believe we can do that and that’s what we have been trying to do,” Streak told reporters at a pre-series press conference at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

“I think it’s always a good thing to try and start with a win, it obviously sets a precedent going forward and if you can get an early win then you can get that confidence . . . we know Afghans are very big confidence team so if they do get up early you got to knock them down . . . we will be targeting to get started with an early victory.”

Zimbabwean selectors have decided to give a couple of young players an opportunity to play in this series with 19-year-old left seamer Richard Ngarava being the latest addition to a side that already have other enterprising youngsters such as a Carl Mumba, Tarisai Musakanda and Ryan Burl.

“...I think it would be good to have them and obviously it will take them (Afghanistan) a bit of time to work out maybe one or two of our younger players,” Streak said.

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