Zimbabwe’s sweet revenge in the second of the five match one-day international series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates, it sets up a tantalising third match today as both sides seek to take a step ahead.
BY Kevin Mapasure
When Zimbabwe were thrashed by 154 runs, it seemed their confidence had taken the hardest knock and they would struggle to lift themselves up and pull some punches themselves.
Yet when it was least expected they rose to the occasion and for good measure thrashed 333 runs after winning the toss while their opponents struggled to 79 all-out.
The scores in Zimbabwe’s win were identical to those of the first match where Afghanistan also batted first and scored 333 before Zimbabwe stumbled to 179.
The win came at probably the best time as Zimbabwe needed to boost their confidence. Critics had already started to circle on Brendan Taylor who, since his return to international cricket had been struggling up until the 125-run knock which confounded any doubters.
Up until, Sunday there was so much worry about Zimbabwe’s batting especially heading towards the World Cup qualifiers next month, where they are in the same pool as Afghanistan.
What a way to reassure the fans that they still have what it takes to go and claimed the prized ticket to the World Cup finals that will be played in England and Wales in 2019.
Lack of consistency has always been a major worry, and Zimbabwe will walk onto the stadium with a spring in their step looking to pick up from where they left in the second match.
Winning the toss has proved to be key so far in this series where batting first seems to be the preferred choice.
Sikandar Raza Butt shared in a 135 run fourth wicket stand with Taylor where they used up just 110 balls and today he will be looking to continue being a nuisance for the Afghanistan bowlers.
Solomon Mire needs some runs and so does Craig Ervine who often gets the starts and fails to convert them to good scores.
This is another platform for them to relaunch themselves and prove that they deserve to be in the team ahead of the qualifiers.
Kyle Jarvis missed the second match due to illness and his expected return today will certainly boost the seam attack, which in his absence performed well, especially in the way they destroyed Afghanistan’s innings at the top.
Zimbabwe will still be wary of Afghanistan’s seem threat, but on their side Graeme Cremer has been doing well with the ball.