THE Zimbabwe national cricket team face a rough road to redemption when they take on a fired up Pakistan in the fourth of five one-day internationals (ODI) at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo this morning, at the back of three heavy defeats that have already given the tourists a series win.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Following an energy-sapping nine-wicket defeat where they were bowled out for just 67 runs at the back of another nine-wicket defeat, Zimbabwe have got to summon all mighty energy to haul themselves back and at least earn some consolation.
That Pakistan are set to ring some changes in their line up to give other players a run should normally present opportunities for Zimbabwe, but the danger in this case is that those players that have been in reserve will possess a lot of hunger to succeed and impress the selectors for future assignments.
Never mind what Pakistan present, Zimbabwe have a huge fight against themselves. They need to regain confidence and they need to start backing themselves under the weight of pressure from an angry support base.
The selectors have another tough assignment as do the coaches in this case. Walter Chawaguta has a mammoth task, especially with such a thin squad lacking some of its best performers.
Where do they look now?
They dropped Brian Chari for Prince Masvaure in the last match as well as bringing in the experience of Elton Chigumbura, but still there didn’t get any joy.
There are so many questions that they may have posed to themselves as they finalised the team for today’s match.
The series is gone, but this match is as important as the first for Zimbabwe who have to earn some pride after getting thrashed all the way so far.
Skipper Hamilton Masakadza admitted that coming back from the Wednesday disaster is a tough proposition.
“It was a bit of a disaster straight up (last match defeat). We just tell the guys to stay positive and rectify the wrongs done today. It is not easy to come back, though. We need more application, soft dismissals and technical errors to go with it. Hopefully, we come out firing next game,” Masakadza said.
Masakadza will have to lead from the front and will demand conviction and fight, particularly from the other experienced guys in the side that include Chamu Chibhabha and Chugumbura, if they are selected.
Today, they will walk out thinking about ways to redeem themselves and one important aspect of their game plan will be to make Pakistan work for its wickets.
Pakistan have been calling for some challenge after getting it all easy in the first three matches and they confirmed that they will shuffle their pack for the last two matches today and Sunday.