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14 matches, 11 defeats


BY Kevin Mapasure
ZIMBABWE national cricket team coach Lalchand Rajput has absolved himself of blame over the team’s poor form after they meekly surrendered their three match one-day international series against visiting Afghanistan.

Today, the two nations square off for the third and final match for this format and despite the disappointment in the first two matches, the Indian national presiding over the hosts is positive that they can claim the 10 points on offer.

The series is part of the Super League and Zimbabwe have remained on 35 points after 14 matches, while their guests could move to 100 points and into second position on the table if they complete a whitewash.

Zimbabwe’s performance so far, where they have lost by 60 runs and eight wickets, has left the fans bristling with anger and disappointment, with some calling for a technical team reshuffle.

Rajput yesterday told NewsDay Sport that he shares the disappointment, adding that he had done his part to prepare the players who fall short of the required standards when in the middle.

He particularly pointed out the batsmen, whom he said failed to live up to standard in the first two matches.

“Yes, we are all disappointed that we could not win the series, but still one game to go and we are looking at taking those 10 points and we are positive about it,” the underfire mentor said.

“Looking back at the two games, it is very clear that our batsmen had to take responsibility to put us in better positions. Some of our batsmen got the start of 30 to 40 runs, but didn’t convert them into big scores. If you look at Afghan batsmen, whoever was set, he went on to get a hundred or a 90 or 80 plus score, which was lacking with our batsmen.”

Rajput is optimistic that the batters will do better in the third match at Harare Sports Club this morning.

“I am sure they will come back and make it count in the last game. When you lose, the first thing is to blame the coach, but coaches are there to prepare players well, but they have to play in the middle and perform,” he said.

“If you see the batsmen get 30 and 40s and get out, they don’t carry it further. This is what we are working at. From the top four, two batsmen have to bat deep and get hundreds.

“As long we don’t get hundreds, we are not going to get 280+ which we can defend, so batsmen have to take those responsibilities as a group. Once we do that, we will start winning more matches. Tomorrow, we are going with a very positive mindset and try to get those 10 points.”

Innocent Kaia hit a half century, which many felt he should have converted into a hundred, but his opening partner Regis Chakabva’s struggles have been worse with the keeper batter managing just one run in two innings.

Zimbabwe’s highest run scorers across the two matches are Kaia (102) and Sikandar Raza (107), but their highest scores are 63 and 67, respectively.

  • Follow Kevin on Twitter@kevinmapasure

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