Wednesday, April 28, 2010

T/20 world cup Zimbabwe

If I think about the Zimbabwe team in the 90's, they had a side that could give the big boys a run for their money. Andy Flower was a great batsman, Streak was a fine bowler, Goodwin was a good batsman and they also had some decent players like Grant Flower, Campbell, Olanga, Johnson etc, but because of the political situation in Zimbabwe, not just senior players like Andy Flower left the scene, but even upcoming players like Ervine, Bilignaut and co. left the team. It was a bad time for Zimb. as greenhorns were forced to play international cricket and Zimb. as expected lost their test status.

At present, Zimb. are in a rebuilding phase, but with the political situation getting a bit better, senior players like Streak coming back to help the team as a coach and players like Bilignaut and Taibu returning back to the set up, the situation is looking somewhat better. Anyway, the present team is captained by the calm Prosper Utseya and to be frank, he has done a decent job as a captain.

Key players

Price- Price is a key member of their spin attack. The left arm spinner is a real miser with the ball and IMO should be called a robot as he can pitch most deliveries in a over on and around off stump and rarely ever bowls short. In a recently concluded T/20 match in the Caribbean, Price and co. won the match for Zimb. by giving away just 79 runs in 20 overs as Westindies slumped to a shocking defeat! Price as expected was a miser as he gave only 18 runs. His E/R is believe it or not 3.5! I know that it would go up as he has only played 5 matches, but it tells you that it is hard to smash him out of the park especially, when one considers that Zimb are playing both their games at Guyana.

Utseya- The captain is a perfect foil for Price. The off spinner can be another miser with the ball as he too hates to give away easy runs. If Price gave away 18 runs in that match against the Caribbean team, Utseya gave away just 12 runs! His E/R in T/20 cricket is just 5 as well. If anyone is participating in cricinfo fantasy competition they can keep an eye on both Price and Utseya. Utseya has also done a decent job as a captain.

Chigumbura- I'm still wondering why Chiggy didn't get picked by any IPL franchise as he is a very underrated hitter. People have seen Pollard smash everything, but also look out for Chigumbura as he can send the ball into the orbit as well. He has already shown a glimpse of what he can do in the warm up game against Australia, as he smashed 70 odd in just about 30 deliveries. He can bowl useful medium pace too, though has problems with bowling no balls. Chigumbura can be another decent pick in fantasy competitions.

Mazakadza- He is a good batsman who can do well at top of the order. He has the ability to rotate the strike and can play the big shots.

Brendon Taylor- He is another key player in the top order as he too can mix caution with aggression. Zimb would depend on Taylor and Mazakadza to fire at top of the order. Taylor can also become a decent wicketkeeper.

I know that Taibu is in the squad, but he has just comeback into the squad and it would take a while before he gets back his touch. Just like many other payers he had left the squad, but thankfully has made a comeback. He is a fine keeper and can play well in the middle-order.

Zimbabwe are in group B and play both their games at Guyana. The ground at Guyana is a new stadium, still I expect it to be on the slower side, which should suit the spin dominated attack of Zimb. Zimb don't just have Price and Utseya, but they also have Maruma, Cremer and Lamb to exploit the conditions. Maruma is unique as he has almost stopped bowling leg breaks due to him losing confidence and only bowls googly. First I thought, he is the only guy to ever bowl just the googly, but I now remember that there was a South African guy called Reggie Scharz who used to perhaps bowl only googlies. Anyway, the batsmen would take time to adjust to the fact that he only bowls googlies. Cremer bowls leg spin and there is Lamb and he too can bowl off spin.

The worry for Zimb is, they are starved of top quality international cricket and as a result their batsmen are inexperienced. Taylor, Mazakadza, Taibu( his experience would come in handy),C.Ervine(younger brother of S.Ervine), Sibanda( the player who can play a glorious cover drive and follow it up by throwing his wicket away the next ball lol) and Coventry can all play well, but if the opposition bat first and get a huge score they perhaps would lose their way.

If the top order can get some runs and build a solid platform, the lower order consisting of Chigumbura and Bilignaut can cause headaches to the opposition ranks as both have the ability to send it into the orbit. As far as Bilignaut is concerned, he is another player who has made a return to the Zimb squad and that is good news for the team as he is a decent swing bowler, a fine outfielder and along with Chigumbura, is expected to come good lower down the order.

Zimb are in a tough group as they have both Lanka and NZ to contend with, but if either of them take Zimb lightly they can cause a upset. It isn't like there is a good chance of them upsetting the apple-cart as especially, Lanka with their bowling attack suited to the conditions in the Caribbean look too strong for them, but if certain factors go right for them, like winning the toss and batting first, getting a respectable score on the board then they can give the opposition a run for their money as they have the attack to do well at Guyana.


Suhas said...

Ray Price is definitely one of the game's characters, one of those "fast bowler in a spinner's body" sorts. Indian fans remember him for giving Sachin a difficult time during Zimbabwe's 2002 visit.

Also looking forward to seeing Craig Ervine, considering is brother was a big loss for Zim cricket. And it's been ages since I've watched Masakadza or Taibu so it'll be interesting to see how they've been developing as cricketers.

greyblazer said...

Nice to see you on the blog. I think Chigumbura is a powerful hitter and he is another one to look out for.