ZIMBABWE cricket team coach Heath Streak says his charges won’t be doing a rain dance as they look to claim the final place at the reduced 10-team World Cup with a victory over United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their decisive Super Six match of the ICC World Cup qualifier at Harare Sports Club today.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Streak’s comments came after Scotland failed to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup after their run chase against the Windies was cut short due to rain at the same venue yesterday.
Chasing 199, Scotland were 125 for 5 and well poised to register a shock victory and secure their ticket to next year’s World Cup in England and Wales only to come agonisingly five runs short of the Duckworth-Lewis par score after heavy rain halted their chase in the 33rd over.
A controversial lbw decision just before the rains came also worked in the Windies’ favour as Richie Berrington fell to spinner Ashley Nurse for 33. Had the rain come with Scotland on the same score, but four wickets down, they would have qualified ahead of the two-time World Champions. With rain also forecast for the capital this afternoon Streak, whose charges are raring to go said they will be hoping they can avoid missing out of qualification for the global showpiece in similar fashion.
“We can’t control the rain, so it’s not in our hands; it’s in God’s hands. We can only control what we can so we will not worry about that (the rain),” Streak said.
“Obviously, we will be keeping an eye on it during our game, but normally during this time of the year you don’t get that persistent rain for a long time, so if it does rain, we will be hoping that we can get back on the field and play and hopefully get the job done and make everyone happy,” he said.
“We know it’s a must win game for us, but we just have to continue playing good cricket like what we have been doing.”
“The guys are very excited for the opportunity and hopefully we can put a good game together and qualify for the World Cup.”
The uncertainty surrounding the weather expected today should further add intrigue in this do-or-die match for the hosts as any slip-up against bottom-placed UAE would mean that it would be curtains downs as far as their chances of making to the World Cup in England is concerned.
Zimbabwe’s loss against Windies on Monday ended the home side’s unbeaten streak in the tournament and also left them in danger of not finishing in the top two.
A win against UAE and they’ll be travelling to England next year. Lose, and they’re out. If the UAE can pull off an unlikely shock win over Zimbabwe, Afghanistan can also qualify, provided they beat Ireland on Friday.
With five teams in the Super Sixes standing a chance to qualify, even the net run rate could come into picture.
Scotland on the other hand, for them to qualify, would need the UAE to defeat Zimbabwe, Ireland to beat Afghanistan tomorrow and overtake Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan on net run rate.
Meanwhile, the UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa urged his teammates to pull up their socks against Zimbabwe as winning would help them show the world they are a capable side.
“Everybody has to see this as a challenge and give it everything. We have to show that we deserved to be in the Super Six and that, I think, is enough motivation going into the match. There is no pressure and all we need to do is play our natural game and back ourselves,” Mustafa said.
Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer (c), Tendai Chatara, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Peter Moor, Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor (wk), Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Cephas Zhuwao, Richard Ngarava
UAE: Rohan Mustafa (c), Adnan Mufti, Ahmad Raza, Amir Hayat, Ashfaq Ahmad, Chirag Suri, Ghulam Shabber (wk), Imran Haider, Mohammad Boota, Mohammad Naveed, Muhammad Usman, Qadeer Ahmad, Rameez Shahzad, Shaiman Anwar, Zahoor Khan.