By Kevin Mapasure
AFTER the T20 business was dispensed of on Saturday, Zimbabwe and Ireland switch focus to the serious business of the three match One-Day International series with both nations eyeing World Cup qualification points.
Zimbabwe go into this series with a single win on their tally and will look to breath life in their suffocating campaign.
They were whitewashed by Bangladesh in their previous attempt at picking up points in the Super League, a defeat which amplified calls for the removal of Lalchand Rajput as coach.
He has not won a single match against a full member side and his only triumphs as Zimbabwe coach in this format came against the United Arab Emirates.
Zimbabwe Cricket have stood behind him although he has enraged the fans by taking out senior players out of the T20 squad.
Batsmen Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams are all set to return to the side after they missed the T20 series which Zimbabwe lost 3-2.
The trio are expected to feature in a warm up match today as they prepare for Wednesday’s opener.
Zimbabwe saw Craig Ervine, with captaincy duties for this tour, come good particularly in the last T20 where he hit a half century (67).
They will be hoping that all their big hitters, including Taylor, Raza, Williams, Ervine and keeper batsman Regis Chakabva all come good in this series if they are to achieve their goals.
The bowling department also came good in the last T20 where Luke Jongwe, Donald Tiripano and Richard Ngarava each had a three for.
Zimbabwe had their main bowler Blessing Muzarabani wrapped up in cotton wool in the first three T20s and only unleashed him in the final two.
They will be hoping that he will be nice and fresh to lead the onslaught against Ireland.
Anything other than a series win for Zimbabwe would be a disaster considering they anchor the 13 nation table where only the top seven join hosts India as automatic qualifiers.
The bottom six will joining nations from league two and three in a qualifying tournament that will be hosted by Zimbabwe next year.
Zimbabwe have set themselves out to avoid that route which they know from experience is a potential banana skin.
They failed to make the last World Cup after they floundered a good chance by losing to the United Arab Emirates.
Zimbabwe have so far played six match and have 10 points from their single win against Pakistan.
Ireland currently sit seventh on the table after 12 matches where they won three and had a share of points in one after the match was abandoned.
If Zimbabwe claim a series whitewash they will displace Ireland on seventh with 40 points.
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