‘We’ve been there before, learnt our lesson’

NO ROOM FOR ERROR . . . Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton (left) has tipped the Chevrons to bounce back to winning ways while all-rounder Ryan Burl (right) is one of the players expected to play a key role when Zimbabwe play Scotland in a crucial World Cup Qualifier match at Queens Sports Club today

Zimbabwe need a straight win against Scotland today to seal their place at the 2023 ICC World Cup finals to be held in India later this year.

The Chevrons, who were left in a spot of bother following their nine-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka on Sunday, will need to rediscover the impressive winning spirit that has won them many hearts during this tournament.

But the ghost of 2018 will always be there to remind the team of the pitfalls carrying the wrong attitude into a game.

Zimbabwe missed the World Cup, held in England and Wales in 2019, for the first time after falling to a shock defeat in a must-win game against the United Arab Emirates in a rain-interrupted match, in a similar qualifying tournament held Harare in 2018.

Inform all-rounder Sean Williams yesterday told journalists that Zimbabwe had no pressure going into this crucial game as they carried their fate in their own hands.

“(The 2018 debacle) It doesn’t really get spoken about too much to be honest. At the moment staying positive and concentrating on our pattern of play and the way we want to play is our main concern. If we continue to do that I think that everything will fall into place,” said Williams.

Zimbabwe are on the cusp of booking their berth at the next World Cup but they need to avoid defeat against the Scots, who come into the match high in confidence after delivering the knock-out punch that sent former champions West Indies tumbling out on Saturday.

Sri Lanka have since booked their place at the World Cup with the win over Zimbabwe which took their Super Six tally to eight points, ahead of their last match against the West Indies later this week.

But the Chevrons are still in with a big chance to claim the remaining ticket. They have six points in the bag ahead of the crucial match against Scotland, which turns out to be their last.

A win will seal the deal for Zimbabwe no matter how Scotland, who have four points and a game in hand, will fare in the other outstanding match against the Netherlands on Thursday.

While admitting that Sri Lanka were a team of higher quality after the Asians completely dominated them on Sunday, Williams said Zimbabwe will not look at the quality of their opponents.

“I think at the moment it doesn’t really matter who we are playing against,” he said.

“The quality of cricket that we have seen throughout this Qualifier from every single team has been phenomenal.

“I think these teams have come a long way and they have got some seriously good players. Scotland have got good players as well and they have got some individual players that can take a game away from you by themselves.

“But you know; we have been here before where we have been in a must — win encounter and we have played against them quite a lot as well which is probably a good thing for us.”

Scotland and the Netherlands are also fancying their chances of qualifying, on four points each. Only the top two teams at the end of the Super Six stage will qualify for the Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

A victory over tournament hosts Zimbabwe would put the two teams level on points, while Scotland currently have a better net run-rate and the advantage of another game to come in the Super Six stage.

Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton has backed his team to bounce back from the disappointment they suffered at the hands of Sri Lanka.

“I talk a lot to the players about the brand of cricket that we have . . . if we continue to play the brand of cricket that we have been playing, come Tuesday, we will be fine,” said Houghton.

The Chevrons will be hoping for big crowds at Queens Sports Club today to cheer the team on as they look to return to the World Cup for the first time since 2015.


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