Same old Zim falter

HARARE - It was an all too familiar story for Zimbabwe as they tamely surrendered to their age old rivals Bangladesh in the opening match of the Rocket Tri-nations series in Dhaka yesterday losing by eight wickets.

It is rather mystifying to see the Zimbabwe senior batsmen still struggle with problems they by now should have overcome, given the amount of times they have played in Bangladesh, be it for the national team, or in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

To their credit, Bangladesh did the basics right and never allowed Graeme Cremer and his charges to gain any sort of momentum throughout the game.

Having slumped to 30 for three it would have needed a Herculean effort from the middle order to have posted a defendable total, after the early losses of Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine and Hamilton Masakadza.

Two questions that instantly spring to mind, is the inclusion of only one left hander, as well as the continuation of picking Malcolm Waller, who is clearly past his sell-by date.

Waller has had a lean patch for some time, and one would have thought that the selectors would have been monitoring his form throughout the BPL where he also struggled to score runs.

The most natural choice would have been to pick a second left-hander, which would have given the middle order more flexibility.

Sean Williams seems to have fallen out of favour with the selectors, after yet another one of his temper tantrums, but clearly you would want your best, or at least closest to best team to travel to the sub continent, especially with the all important 2019 World Cup Qualifier Zimbabwe will be hosting in March.

If the selectors have finally run out of patience with Williams, the next choice would have been Ryan Burl, who inexplicably didn’t crack the nod this time round.

Williams also would have added more variation to Zimbabwe’s bowling attack with his left-arm spin in spin friendly conditions, which makes his exclusion all the more perplexing, but does however, show that all is not well between himself and the authorities.

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer said: “Definitely not enough runs. We didn’t mind batting first. We thought 240-250 was par but losing two wickets in the first over didn’t help. There was a good fightback, Sikandar did well and PJ also but not enough runs.”

His opposite number, Mashrafe Mortaza said: “It has been a tough time, that tour of South Africa and it’s nice to be back home, and win games. The bowlers bowled really well. We knew that the sun won’t come out much at all because of how it has been over the last few days. All the bowlers did really well. When you are chasing 170 on such a wicket that is getting better, there shouldn’t be any panic.”

Zimbabwe’s next encounter is against Sri Lanka at the same venue tomorrow, and although Sri Lanka have been badly beaten by India, Zimbabwe would have to raise the game considerably in order to get off the mark and feature in the series tomorrow.

Match summary

Bangladesh 171 for 2 (Tamim 84*, Shakib 37) beat Zimbabwe 170 (Raza 52, Shakib 3-43) by eight wickets.

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