Aussies crush sorry Gems in WC opener

It was in the second quarter where the Gems started to lose their game and making unforced errors, with Matura struggling in the goal shooting area.

The Zimbabwe netball team coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki yesterday observed that his team gave their opponents too much respect as the Gems started off their world cup with a crushing 86-30 defeat to Australia in South Africa.

The global showcase, which is being played on African soil since its inception 1963, started yesterday in Cape Town.

Going into this tournament, Mutsauki implored his team to be brave and stand toe to toe with the giants, but they squandered a bright start in the first quarter and lost their way in the other three quarters.

“We gave them too much respect but we played well in the first quarter. However, moving forward, they started giving themselves too much pressure thereby making some mistakes. Looking at Australia, they had tall players even in the midfield and we were supposed to play short balls and it would have worked for the better on our side,” Mutsauki said.

He wants to see his side improve on their defence when they take on Fiji today.

“What I noted going into tomorrow’s game is that we must improve on our defensive side so that we can move the ball straight to the shooting circle. Fiji plays simple netball and we must counter them on pace- only their shooters are mobile and we will also work on how we can handle them,” he said

Captain Felistas Kwangwa credited Australia for their solidity at the back.

“We tried our best as a team, unfortunately defence wise, Australia managed to set up a defensive unit that was difficult for us to penetrate as a team. But there are few positives we managed to do well as a team and we will hold up to that and work on our error rate so that when we face Tonga tomorrow we come out strong,” she said.

In yesterday’s match, the Gems made a start, getting into double figures in the first quarter at Australia led 20-11.

The partnership of Nalani Makunde, who was making her debut for Zimbabwe and seasoned goal-attack Tafadzwa Matura worked well in the first quarter with the former netting seven goals whilst the later scored four.

It was in the second quarter where the Gems started to lose their game and making unforced errors, with Matura struggling in the goal shooting area.

Makunde scored seven, while Matura scored a single goal, ending the second quarter trailing on 41-18.

The partnership of these two shooters however proceeded in the third quarter with the team making a double change on wing defence and goal defence where Claris Kwaramba came in for Sharleen Makusha and Takadaishe Zimusi replacing the captain, Kwangwa.

Joyce Takaidza and Sharon Bwanali came in for Makunde and Matura just before the end of the third quarter.

Bwanali scored a single goal before the end of the quarter. Australia were consistent as they scored 21 goals to end the quarter on 62-24.

In the final quarter, the Gems had a single substitution where Progress Moyo came in for Beaulla Hlungwani on wing attack.

Though the partnership of Takaidza and Bwanali started the final quarter on a high note, the resurgence was short-lived as they also started struggling netting goals. Takaidza completed the quarter with five goals, while Bwanali was on two goals.

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