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TRIAL BY SPIN AWAITS WINDIES

Published: 
Monday, March 19, 2018
Unbeaten Zimbabwe pushes for ICC qualification today
Rovman Powell, left, and Evin Lewis during a training session at the Harare Sports Club. (PHOTO COURTESY CWI MEDIA)

HARARE—Favourites West Indies were bracing for a spin assault from hosts Zimbabwe, in today’s all important Super Sixes clash of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers.

Much will be riding on the contest at Harare Sports Club as the winners will take a giant step towards the fnal and clinching one of the two remaining spots at next year’s World Cup in England.

With spin having played a key role in Zimbabwe’s unbeaten run in the tournament, veteran seamer Kemar Roach said Sunday the Windies were already aware of what to expect.

“Spin will definitely be a factor in the match. The wickets are under wear and tear now so it’s going to be tough for us to put a big score on the board,” Roach explained.

“But runs on the board is the name of the game and obviously as a bowling attack, we have to put pressure on the Zimbabwe batsmen and we’ll be fine.”

In conditions which will favour the hosts, the Windies will have to deal with the likes of left-arm spinners Tendai Chisoro and Sean Williams, leg-spinner Graeme Cremer and off-spinner Sikander Raza.

The match took on even more significance after West Indies were upset by Afghanistan in their opening match of the Super Sixes last Thursday at Harare Sports Club.

Though the defeat was their first of the tournament after finishing the preliminary round unbeaten, it saw West Indies slip down the table to third and out of the qualifying positions.

Zimbabwe lead the standings with five points, ahead of Scotland only on net run rate, with the Windies on four.

Roach, who missed the Afghanistan defeat through injury but will return to face Zimbabwe, said the squad understood the importance of the encounter and were up for it.

“It’s a big match for us obviously and I’m looking forward to it. I missed that last one due to injury but I’m feeling much better now. I put the work in at practice and I’m ready and raring to go,” he said.

“There’s definitely a lot to play for. Playing Zimbabwe in their home town is going to be tough so the guys are mentally prepared and physically prepared for this game. It’s going to be a tough one but I believe we will come out on top as we should.”

He added: “The guys are obviously very focussed. This is like the biggest career match for most of these guys, so to win this match and win the other one [against Scotland] and go to the World Cup is obviously the pinnacle, so these guys are very focussed.

“The camp is good – everyone is focussed, everyone is happy – and we’re just going to go out there and play the best cricket we can.”

West Indies are bidding to continue their proud tradition of having contested every World Cup, since winning the first two back in 1975 and 1979 under the legendary Clive Lloyd.

The qualifiying campaign has been their first, however, after finishing ninth in the ICC world rankings and outside the automatic qualifying spots.

And Roach said even though they had been up against lesser-ranked teams in the competition, the Windies had been kept on their toes throughout.

“There have been no easy games for us. I think we’ve stuck to our tasks and we’ve had to work for our wins but obviously it’s not finished yet,” he stressed.

“We’re halfway through and I think this is the biggest part of the tournament now for us. I think once we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will come out on top and we will be fine.”

The match bowls off at 9:30 am (3:30 am Eastern Caribbean time). (CMC)

SQUADS:

ZIMBABWE – Graeme Cremer (captain), Tendai Chatara, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Peter Moor, Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Cephas Zhuwao

WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams.

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