Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
THE wait for a World Cup appearance is finally over for both the team and the fans back home as Zimbabwe start their International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup campaign against Ireland at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Australia today.
The match starts at 10:00 Zimbabwean time and the team will be making their first World Cup appearance since 2016 in the global showpiece that was hosted in India.
In 2016, the Chevrons failed to get past the first round of the tournament after they finished in position two behind Afghanistan but this time around two teams progress to the next round with Dave Houghton and his men looking to do their best Down Under and reach the Super 12.
The match will mark their sixth appearance at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with their pool opponents being Ireland, West Indies and Scotland. After today’s match, the team will then square off against West Indies on Wednesday before finishing off their group against Scotland on Friday.
Houghton, a Zimbabwean coach has had an impressive recent run in T20Is after taking over in June after a shock series defeat to Namibia, fast bowler Bradley Evans attributed the team’s recent successes to Houghton’s philosophy that has seen him create a happy place.
“Forget the cricket. The changing room between the two series that I played is such a different place. It’s jovial, guys are making jokes. It’s just a happier place.
“The only thing that Dave has come in and said is, ‘Guys, I don’t care if you get out, but I want you to play your shots’. So, you’ll see someone play a terrible shot and you’ll think, ‘Oh, my God, what do you think the coach is going to say to him,’’ said Evans in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.
Evans added: “But Dave will actually just ask him about his thought process and say, ‘Maybe try this next time; but I like the way you batted today’. That gives that same guy the freedom to go out next time and still try and express himself. He doesn’t hammer guys for getting things wrong because at the end of the day, we’re all human.”
Zimbabwe will also be hoping that the fit again skipper, Craig Ervine will bring his A-game at the top of the order alongside wicketkeeper batter, Regis Chakabva. In-form, Sikandar Raza will also be looked at to continue his recent form to guide the team to the next round.
The squad also boasts of seasoned campaigners such as Tendai Chatara, Sean Williams and Ryan Burl.
Despite their last warm up match being washed out, the Chevrons managed to get a feel of the conditions in Australia with one warm up match against Sri Lanka and multiple training sessions.
Inspiration will also be drawn from the team’s African counterparts, Namibia who opened their account with a 55 runs win over Asia champions, Sri Lanka.
Craig Ervine (captain), Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Sean Williams
Article Source: The Chronicle