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Ireland under pressure: Masakadza

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ZIMBABWE will look to take advantage of the added pressure on the Ireland national cricket team shoulders in their 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup Group B contest at the Bellerive Oval here on tomorrow.

BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN HOBART, AUSTRALIA

Senior batsman Hamilton Masakadza said that the Irish were under more pressure to win this match as they were on the brink of clinching a quarter-final ticket.

“I think it’s them who are under pressure and that could work in our favour,” Masakadza said.

“They have won two matches and if they win against us, that probably takes them through to the quarter-finals. So that has put them under a lot of pressure.

“We just have to go out and express ourselves. We want to win, but we are not as desperate as they are. So we will be relaxed and we just need to do the basics right.”

Zimbabwe will look to exorcise the demons of Brisbane where after having held a stranglehold of the game for long periods, they somehow let off and allowed Pakistan back in the game.

Pakistan eventually won by 20 runs, a performance and result that disappointed fans both here and back home while also angering coach Dav Whatmore.

Masakadza said Zimbabwe would be looking to improve on their concentration from start to finish.

“It’s a big game. We have to come out guns blazing from the start and we have to focus from ball one to the end.”

The veteran batter said that Zimbabwe was a better team and they were better-prepared for their match up on Saturday.

“I think we have an edge. We have played much bigger games than this for a long time. We have enough experience at the top. We are better equipped to deal with certain situations than they are so that thrusts us ahead.”

Ireland have so far won two matches against West Indies and the United Arab Emirates, while Zimbabwe have won just one match, but Masakadza believes it is them that have played better cricket and that will give them added confidence going into their important match.

“They have won two matches and we have won one, but we have bowled and batted well. In big matches, we have given ourselves every chance of winning by staying in for a long time. That has given us a lot of confidence. We know that we only need to up our game just a little bit and results will start favouring us.”

Masakadza himself knows that he will need to step up and perform in that middle order if Zimbabwe is to avoid the embarrassment of losing to Ireland.

Brendan Taylor, who has taken over captaincy from the injured Elton Chigumbura, will also need to step up for the team to improve its batting after they failed to chase 236 at the Gabba.

Seamers Tinashe Panyangara, Tendayi Chatara and Tawanda Mupariwa have to tweak a bit and avoid conceding so many runs especially in the last 10 overs of the innings.

The absence of Chigumbura could entail Solomon Mire bowling more overs and he will look to perform better than he has done so far in this tournament.

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