Zimbabwe will try to play in-form Bangladesh offspinner Abdur Razzak with added caution when they meet the hosts in a potentially decisive fourth Micromax One- Day Cup cricket encounter at the the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Friday.
Zimbabwe trail the five-match series 2-1 and are on a two- match losing streak after failing to handle Razzak (28) who has earned himself two man-of- the-match awards in the last two matches in Dhaka. Razzak’s performances have been extensively revered here and he has earned himself cult hero status for his torment of the Zimbabwean batsmen.
However, in an interview yesterday the national cricket team’s assistant coach Stephen Mangongo said they were going to approach Razzak with added caution in the next match.
“Friday is going to be a do-or-die game for us and the Bangladesh team have one man who has stood out as the match winner and that has been Razzak.
“Every time he has come in to bowl he has taken three quick wickets.
“For the last two days we have been working on a number of options, and we have resolved that when he comes in we won’t give him cheap wickets.
“We are going to play defensively against him so that we have more wickets as we bat through and that is going to be our main tactic on Friday. Even if it means we are going to go at three runs an over but as long as we have wickets in hand it won’t be a problem.
“We have realised that our batsmen were trying to take the game to him but now we have changed the approach and we hope it will bring the desired results,” said Mangongo.
Razzak has taken 13 wickets in three matches where he has bowled 29.2 overs, five of which have been maidens. His strike rate of 13,5 has been phenomenal.In the last match, Hamilton Masakadza was stumped after charging down the track to hit the in-form spinner over the top, while in previous matches other batsmen have also perished while trying hard to take him on.
Mangongo said this was a common tactic in every sport, cricket included, where if the opponents realise that an opponent is in-form he is given some form of respect.
“He is playing well at the moment and has made the difference in their recent matches against us and New Zealand.
“We need to give him that respect and it’s not a rare phenomenon in the game.
“However, we will now have to take the game to the other bowlers and be more assertive towards him when he doesn’t bowl well,” added Mangongo.
Meanwhile, national team skipper Elton Chigumbura, who has been struggling with a groin injury, could receive a late call-up for the match although he is not fully fit after missing out the last encounter.
He was however optimistic that he would play a part in the match although he admitted that he was not yet 100% fit.