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  #1  
Old August 8, 2009, 03:24 PM
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Default Make or break series for Zimbabwe (Zimbabwean Preview of series)

Make or break series for Zimbabwe

Don’t underestimate how important this series is to Zimbabwe, for over five years ever since the rebels left in 2004 they have been searching for a team that can contain experience and talented youth and many believe that finally after five torturous years they have arrived at a squad of players that can compete and move forward on the world stage. But before they get to excited, these are only names on a bit of paper and they must deliver in this vital series. The preparation has been intense as the players have been confined to a month long training camp just for this series where the intensity has been fierce as they get ready for one of the most important series for Zimbabwe cricket in the last decade, as only a win will silence the many critics and give them hope that there is a permanent place for Zimbabwe in the top tier of international cricket.

In the last few months Zimbabwe cricket has undergone radical change with the upheaval of the domestic system to create a longer season under a new franchise system which has included a decentralisation of power away from the all powerful Zimbabwe Cricket to the franchises who has assumed responsibility for the running and finances of there region. The selection panel has been reformed with former test captain Alistair Campbell being appointed the new head of selectors in the effort to get former players involved in Zimbabwe cricket which has included the return of coaches Andy Waller, David Haughton and former captain Heath Streak .All these changes are to the benefit of Zimbabwean cricket and have contributed to the best squad in several years being picked, which will force players who previously took there place for granted such as Stuart Matsikenyeri and Vusi Sibanda to up there game to stay in the side.

Playing against a Bangladesh side which is high on confidence after a record breaking tour of the West Indies will be a stern challenge. As Jamie Siddons has assembled a very dangerous one-day unit based around penetrative spin bowling and explosive top order batting. Zimbabwe are bound to face a trail against spin which wore them down eventually in the one day series in Bangladesh earlier this year. The decision to play all five match’s at the spin friendly Bulawayo ground has raised a few questions as even though Bulawayo has been starved on international cricket for the last couple of years, many people including former captain and under 19 assistant coach Heath Streak called for the games to be played on seamer friendly track in order to rough up the Bangladeshis, as playing the on a spin friendly tack seems to place Bangladesh firmly in there comfort zone.

The make up of the Zimbabwe batting is expected to be much changed from the series earlier in the year with experienced opener Hamilton Masakadza is expected to open the batting with comeback kid Mark Vermeulen who completes his rehabilitation after five year out in the wilderness after being arrested for arson and facing a twenty five year jail term which was quashed after him being declared mentally ill when the attack took place. But after a full first class season behind him he is ready to take on the world once more. The enigma of Sean Williams is predicted to take the number three spot to continue his stopped start international career which has included a number of classy innings as well as a number of commitments issues but hopefully he has put that all behind him and is ready to flourish as the player that all Zimbabwe fans know he can be, he will have a big role to play as the best player of spin in the side. The middle order is up for grabs with the returning Brendan Taylor and Charles Coventry (one of them will take the gloves) fighting against the incumbents of Stuart Matsikenyeri and Malcolm Waller. The batting will be finished of by the aggressive all rounder Elton Chigumbura who on a number of occasions has hurt Bangladesh in the past with some devastating lower order hitting. The key to Zimbabwe’s batting will be how they cope with Bangladesh’s spin attack and the world around the camp is that they will look to hit the spinners out of the attack. The main threat is expected to be Shakib as Zimbabwe only has one left hander in Sean Williams which should help to nullify the threat of the two off spinners.

The make up of the bowling attack depends on the combination rather than personal, as the decision that needs to be made is whether to go with the three man spin attack which was so successful in the 5-0 series win against Kenya. The key in the series was the variation of the spin attack which includes the left arm spin of the experience warrior Ray Price, the economical off spinner Prosper Utseya and the exciting up and coming leg spin of Greame Cremer. But due to Bangladesh’s supposed weakness against fast bowling it is likely that the selectors will go for a three pacer two spinner combination for the first ODI. This would mean a three man pace attack lead by Ed Rainsford who has demonstrated a good ability in the last year to be able to swing the ball at a decent pace with the new ball being shared by Tawanda Mupariwa who recently became the quickest Zimbabwean bowler to 50 wickets in ODI’s and will provide an accurate line mixed up with changes of pace, whilst the opening pair will be backed up with the medium pace of Chigumbura. Other bowling options for Zimbabwe are Williams and Masakadza.

Zimbabwe Probable 1. Hamilton Masakadza 2. Mark Vermeulen 3. Sean Williams 4. Brendan Taylor (WK) 5. Stuart Matsikenyeri 6. Charles Coventry 7.Elton Chigumbura 8. Prosper Utseya (C) 9. Ray Price 10. Tawanda Mupariwa 11. Ed Rainsford

Key battles

Tamin Iqbal V Ed Rainsford The strike bowler against the explosive batsman will set up the tone of the series as Tamin is seen by many to be the key to the Bangladesh line up as if he gets of to flyer then Zimbabwe may be forced to chase the game. Rainsford with his pace and swing will look to bring the ball back into Tamin early on but Rainsford does have a history of going for runs early on so this will be a battle to watch out for.

Shakib Al Hasan V Elton Chigumbura The battle of the two of the leading up and coming all rounders in the world game. Both players are just in there early twenties and would be able to get into their sides as either a batsman or a bowler. Who ever comes out on top in this battle will put their team in pole position for a series win.

Last edited by zimfan; August 8, 2009 at 03:30 PM..
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  #2  
Old August 8, 2009, 05:26 PM
BD-Shardul BD-Shardul is offline
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কত কেডিপিপির বেহুদা প্যাচালও ১০-১৫টা রিপ্লাই পায়, আর একজন কষ্ট করে একটা প্রিভিউ লেখল, কেউ একটা জবাব দিল না। আই লাভ কেডিপিপিস

Translation: Great Post. The series is going to be see-saw battle for sure.
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  #3  
Old August 8, 2009, 05:28 PM
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'Make or break?'

hardly

If Zim lose even 4-1, they wont have lost any reputation from their current position.
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  #4  
Old August 8, 2009, 07:44 PM
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Thanks zimfan! that was a very informative preview. This should be a very exciting series. Clearly Zimbabwe will treat this as a life/death series...but what about the Tigers? I am waiting to see whether Shakib's vow to play quality professional cricket is borne out by their performance on the field.
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  #5  
Old August 8, 2009, 07:54 PM
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Ya Zimbabwe will surely play their best cricket. My main concern is that after winning in WI, BD might just get complacent. That has been our trademark signature for a while now, that we get "tired". Any long tours or series; usually by the end of it we lose ourselves. This time we made it through the WI series, but will we be able to continue the trend through the ZIM series?

With Sakib pressuring the boys to play better, and Mushy's constant encouraging words...I guess we will have to wait and see.
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  #6  
Old August 8, 2009, 10:42 PM
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How much chigumbura contributes to team leadership? Is he vocal on and off the field and gives Utesa ideas?
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  #7  
Old August 8, 2009, 10:53 PM
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Looking forward to a good series. Let the better team win.
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  #8  
Old August 9, 2009, 12:15 AM
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Have to watch the first ODI to have an idea in which direction it is going. I think, the series will be competitive. Zimbabweans are always a fighter.
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  #9  
Old August 9, 2009, 09:50 AM
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Nice preview. Although I see they didn't play Rainsford in the first ODI even though you seem to indicate he is zim's strike bowler. Is he injured or something else?
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  #10  
Old August 9, 2009, 10:04 AM
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the selection was shocking today
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  #11  
Old August 9, 2009, 10:08 AM
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Make or break series for Zimbabwe
smash - 1 - not broken yet but i see some cracks... and no not that crack don't be excited.
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  #12  
Old August 9, 2009, 10:08 AM
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in my view they should drop a batsman for Rainsford....
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  #13  
Old August 9, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadim 98
in my view they should drop a batsman for Rainsford....
Yeah proberly Chibhbha or Matsikenyeri
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  #14  
Old August 9, 2009, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadim 98
in my view they should drop a batsman for Rainsford....
Quote:
Originally Posted by zimfan
Yeah proberly Chibhbha or Matsikenyeri
That would put pressure on other batsmen.They wont be able to score freely.
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  #15  
Old August 9, 2009, 11:04 AM
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After first game, the swinging pendulum now in "break" end ... not doubt about that.
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Old August 9, 2009, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MohammedC
That would put pressure on other batsmen.They wont be able to score freely.
Were they able today?
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Old August 9, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarWolf
Were they able today?
No they did not but they thretened to for little period. Taking away a batsmen will put pressure on others.
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  #18  
Old August 9, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimfan
the selection was shocking today
Apart from inclusion of Rainsford, do you think it is the best zim 11(rather 10)?
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  #19  
Old August 9, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BangladeshFan
Apart from inclusion of Rainsford, do you think it is the best zim 11(rather 10)?
Sibanda should have been there.
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  #20  
Old August 9, 2009, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MohammedC
No they did not but they thretened to for little period. Taking away a batsmen will put pressure on others.
they were playing bowler short so to drop a batter is an obvious choice
dont know whether that will make a huge difference though
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  #21  
Old August 9, 2009, 11:52 AM
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by the way
thank for your review nd info zimfan
much appreciated
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  #22  
Old August 9, 2009, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BD-Shardul
কত কেডিপিপির বেহুদা প্যাচালও ১০-১৫টা রিপ্লাই পায়, আর একজন কষ্ট করে একটা প্রিভিউ লেখল, কেউ একটা জবাব দিল না। আই লাভ কেডিপিপিস

Translation: Great Post. The series is going to be see-saw battle for sure.
সুখ নাইরে পাগল...হক কথা

Translation: I agree with him except the see-saw part
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  #23  
Old August 9, 2009, 12:34 PM
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No doubt the selection betrayed a negative mind-set. 8 batsmen and not enough strike power meant that Zimbabwe was always going to struggle defending any total under 300 - even defending 325-350 on this facile wicket against a confident Team Bangladesh looked tough. I thought playing Rainsford was a no brainer and what about Mupariwa?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zimfan
the selection was shocking today
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  #24  
Old August 9, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Very good read zimfan.

Haven't seen the match today. Probably will miss all the other matches as well. atleast the first half. But Vermulen scored & lived upto his reputation; even though all others have failed, as the score card shows. This was only the first match and the series is wide open with 4 matches left. I hope Zim will turn around and do much better in the next match.

It's good to hear that all those old players have got involved with the cricket once again; it takes time to bring in some result. You will start seeing some result from their hard work, atleast after 3/4 years. It's too early IMo to expect radical change in such short period; like around an year as you indicated.

Bangladesh as it looks; have got some good confidence from teh WI series and are in good form atm. It will be a tough test for the zim bowlers & batsmen, if BD continues to hold their form. Let this tour bring some expected improvements in both the teams, what ever is the result of the tournament.Both the teams have some catching up to do; before they can be much more competitive with the top teams.
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  #25  
Old August 9, 2009, 01:41 PM
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Excellent article, zimfan. How do you feel about Prosper Utseya as the skipper?
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