“Sri Lankan cricketers watch the dismissa” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Island-Cricket
It’s been a positive period for cricket in Zimbabwe and one that many feel will be long overdue. Having qualified for the ICC T20 World Cup later this year, Sean Ervine’s team recorded impressive series wins over Bangladesh in the ODI and T20i formats.
There are more games to play between now and the start of the major global tournament in October but the squad is looking in good shape ahead of their travels. Can Zimbabwe go deep into this year’s World Cup or is there more work to be done for the current line up?
The Task in Hand
The 2022 edition of the T20 World Cup runs from October 16th to November 13th. Australia is the host nation and, as the defending champions, they are up among the favourites.
Zimbabwe are among eight teams that will have to play in an initial qualifying round. Those eight sides are split into two groups of four. Each country will play each other once and the four best performing teams will progress to the Super 12s.
The likes of India, Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand will join up at that Super 12 stage. The long road to the final means that Zimbabwe will start among the outside bets for success. India, Australia and England are the three joint favourites at this stage.
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Mobile betting, in-play markets and an extensive range of other sports can also be accessed. If Zimbabwe are to progress, the following players will be crucial.
On the back of his brilliant performances against Bangladesh, Sikandar Raza has climbed up to fourth in the International Cricket Council list of ODI all-rounders.
Raza made back-to-back hundreds in the One Day series and finished with an incredible average of 252. He can also be useful with his orthodox off spin and a strong tournament from Sikandar Raza at the T20 World Cup could see Zimbabwe progress to the Super 12s.
Another key all-rounder, Ryan Burl made headlines when he smashed 34 from a single over in the T20 series against Bangladesh. He can score quick runs at the end of the innings but he’s mainly in the side for his leg break bowling.
Burl is approaching 50 international wickets and, if he can add more control, that leg spin could be effective on the fast and bouncy wickets in Australia.
Opening batter Regis Chakabva also made a century in that One Day series against the Bangladeshis. This was his second hundred at international level and he’s becoming a more dependable player at the top of the order.
Chakabva’s experience will be vital at the T20 World Cup although he does need to improve a strike rate which currently sits below 130.
It’s fair to say that Craig Ervine didn’t enjoy the best of times with the bat against Bangladesh. He didn’t feature in the ODI leg but skippered the side to victory in the T20 internationals.
He’s a much better batsman than those recent returns suggest and, as the team captain, he has an important role to play in Australia. Like a number of his teammates, Ervine is reaching the veteran stages of his cricketing career but the quality is still there.
Craig Ervine has six international centuries plus five half centuries in the T20i format and his experience and calm leadership will be vital in Zimbabwe’s World Cup campaign.