Batting bullies vs spin wizards…Chevrons ready for Sri Lankan spin challenge

CHEVRONS captain Craig Ervine

CHEVRONS captain Craig Ervine expects an intriguing contest between Zimbabwe’s inform batsmen and Sri Lanka's famed spinners in their highly anticipated International Cricket Council World Cup qualifying Super Six clash at Queens Sports Club today.

A full house is expected at the arena this morning as Zimbabwe seek two points that will see them clinch a berth at the World Cup.

Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka are the only sides that have a perfect record at this tournament and have an identical points tally of six in the Super Six stage but today they will have to be separated in this winner-takes-all.

Ervine has a lot of respect for the Sri Lankan spinners, but he said that his side have a plan in place to combat their tricks.

Zimbabwe's batsmen have been in good form, particularly Sean Williams who has punched three tons and also scored 91.

Ervine and the ever green Sikandar Raza have also enjoyed a purple patch with the bat.

Raza has 260 runs in four innings after scoring the fastest for Zimbabwe against Netherlands, which he achieved in just 54 balls against Netherlands.

Wanidu Hasaranga is the highest wicket taker in the tournament with 20 wickets while Morawakage Theekshana has  taken nine for Sri Lanka. Ervine said that Zimbabwe will not fear the Sri Lankan spinners but will stick to their plans.

"I think it is going to be a good contest between their spinners and our batters, who have been generally good at playing spin. I think sometimes you don't want to pop those names too much and walk out being fearful of getting out.  At the end of the day they are also human beings although they are good players. We have a few plans that we would like to put in place. It's going to be interesting how it goes," Ervine said.

He admitted that they face a quality side, which thrives in the Queens Sports Club conditions.

"Sri Lanka are a very good side, they are a well drilled side, they have played some good cricket so far. Conditions in Bulawayo suit them more than Harare, but like I said we have our plans for this game."

Ervine said Williams' form has helped the other batsmen in the team.

"Sean's form has been phenomenal. He is such a quality player and he scores at such a high strike rate, which takes a lot of pressure off the guy at the other end and he can play his normal game. He is the key to holding that middle order together. What has worked for us is the first 10 overs to give guys like Sean and Raza the platform."

Ryan Burl, who did not field against Oman on Thursday, has recovered from the minor injury that kept him out.

Both sides need just one win from their last two Super Six matches, but Ervine is not looking too far ahead, choosing to take it one game at a time.

"We are focused on every game. If things don't go according to plan we focus on Tuesday. We are just trying not to think too far ahead. What we need to control is what we are going to do tomorrow (today) and try to get the two points."

Ervine hinted that they might be tempted to bat first if they win the toss with the surfaces having seen so much action over the course of the tournament.

"For this game I expect the wicket to be slightly better. I know the strips towards the trees can be a little bit tricky to bat on and we have had a look. It does look like a decent surface and Sri Lanka have got those two quality spinners that will extract whatever there is in a surface.  So I expect it to be a decent surface. You just don't know what the wicket is going to be like when batting first, but I think a lot of sides are considering batting first after winning the toss because getting onto a surface that has been used two or three times, it's something teams will have a conversation around and again those first six or seven overs are going to be tricky even if the surfaces are good."

If Zimbabwe fail to get the two points they require, they have another opportunity against Scotland on Tuesday.

But all hope among the hordes of Chevrons fans will be that they wrap it up today and seal a place in the India final tournament as well as the final for this tournament on Sunday in Harare.

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