ZIMBABWE’S International Cricket Council World Cup qualifier campaign has so far ridden on a boisterous home crowd that filled up the Queens Sports Club each time they played.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
As they head into the Super Six where they will play all their matches at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe will be banking on a decent record at Harare Sports Club, as well as their fans making the experience as uncomfortable as possible to the opponents.
Captain Graeme Cremer admitted that atmosphere created by the fans in Bulawayo especially in the matches against Afghanistan and Scotland, where they defended a low score to emerge with a win and a draw in the respective matches, inspired their performances.
Cremer said he will be expected the same when the team plays its three Super Six matches starting with the one against Ireland tomorrow.
He was cautious when he said his sides will have to counter some strong teams in the Super Six. “I think we will do really well in the Super Six stage. We always play well at Harare Sports Club and we will also have massive home support to count on.
“It will be really tough in the Super Six, with some really strong teams having made it through, and the team that handles pressure the best will win,” said the home team captain.
Zimbabwe will be looking for an improved batting display and the Harare Sports Club pitch gives them that platform.
The top five batsmen will all be looking for more runs and Sikandar Raza Butt will be looking to return to form after failing to fire in the last two innings following a good start where he got a century and a half tone.
Zimbabwe faced Ireland in a three-match series in November 2015 and won 2-1.
Ireland, Zimbabwe’s opponents tomorrow, realise they could have entered the Super Six with maximum points if they had made the most of their chances against the Windies. But instead of looking back, they are now focused on the upcoming matches.
“It’s great to have qualified for the Super Six stage. We would have liked to make it through with maximum points but that wasn’t to be the case,” said captain William Porterfield, who is his side’s leading run-getter with 250 runs.
Porterfield’s partner Paul Stirling has 191 runs to date, while Boyd Rankin has claimed nine wickets.
“We do, however, have everything in our own hands in terms of qualification. The most important thing for now is that we don’t look too far ahead. Friday is what we need to focus on.”