AFGHANISTAN coach Phil Simmons is expecting a strong challenge from Zimbabwe when the two teams clash in a Goup B match of the International cricket council World cup qualifier.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN BULAWAYO
Simmons, who is a former Zimbabwe coach and has vast knowledge of his opponents today, said that this match presents a different challenge for his team compared to what they encountered when the two clashed in a One Day International series in the United Arab Emirates last month.
Afghanistan ran out 4-1 winners in that series, but Simmons said that this time Zimbabwe will be a lot stronger since they would be playing in their own home conditions.
Ï think Zimbabwe have moved on from the last series, we both have, and in this match they will be a lot stronger because they will be playing in their own conditions, so this will be a tougher match,” Simmons said. “But we just have to go out there and execute all three aspects of the game well to give ourselees a good chance of winning this game.”
Simmons said that the loss to Scotland had not affected them and their ambition since there were still other matches to be played.
“Losing one match in a tournament is not necessarily a setback, we have other matches to play and we are focusing on bouncing back in the next one.”
Simmons was the coach of Ireland when they beat Zimbabwe at the last World Cup.
He will be relishing another opportunity to scuttle Zimbabwe’s chances of qualifying to the World Cup, which will be hosted in England and Wales next year.
Charl Langevedlt, who is Afghanistan’s bowling coach, believes the pressure will be on Zimbabwe to win today’s match since they are playing in front of their own crowd.
Ï think at this level there is pressure considering we lost the first match we need to get a win under our belts, but I think the pressure is more on Zimbabwe since they are playing at home,” Langevedlt said. “For us it is about how we come back from that defeat against Scotland and we know Zimbabwe is a good team playing in their own conditions and like we learnt from the last match, nothing can be taken for granted. Despite the defeat in our first match, we will not panic we will try and execute our plans well.”
Afghanistan will be desperate to win this match and put themselves back in a strong position to qualify for the World Cup finals.
The local fans, some of whom are expected to throng Queens Sports Club here this morning, believe Zimbabwe’s chances of qualifying to the finals hinge on this match.
However, Scotland have proved to be another potential banana skin. A win today for Zimbabwe thrusts them as firm favourites to qualify.