Zimbabwe have the edge over Canada (Preview)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

NAGPUR - Rarely do Zimbabwe start as favourites in One-day International cricket, and that too in the World Cup. But the African team find themselves in such a prized position as they battle with lowly Canada in Group A of the mega-event here Monday.

For Zimbabwe, who have won only eight out of their 43 World Cup matches since making their first appearance in 1983, it is a golden opportunity to log full points after a 91-run defeat in their opening match against defending champions Australia in Ahmedabad a week back. At the same time, a loss on the morrow would be a tremendous loss of face for a side trying to make a return to Test Cricket.

The Zimbabweans bowled to a disciplined line and length opposite the Australians and restricted them to a chaseable total, but failed to reap the dividends as their top order collapsed virtually without a fight.

Canada, who seem to be one of the contenders for the wooden spoon from the group alongside Kenya, would also be eyeing a win to score their first win in the big ticket event following the massive 210-run loss over former champions Sri Lanka last Sunday.

The day game at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium is only the second clash between the two sides in One-day cricket and their maiden battle in the World Cup.

Zimbabwe had coasted to a 143-run win in May 2006 in the neutral venue of Port of Spain by bundling out Canada for a miserly 85. “There are a couple of guys who have played against Canada and they know them better than I do,” skipper Elton Chigumbura said Sunday.

“It seems that if you put pressure on them they will try to play rush shots, so we are going to go with our plan of trying to bowl as many dot balls as we can to them and make them make the mistake,” he said.

The Zimbabweans have several seasoned campaigners including opener Brendan Taylore and wicket keeper batsman Tatenda Taibu, alongside middle order bat Chigumbura and spinners Prosper Utseay and Ray Price. The team management would be heavily banking on their experience to put it across the Canadians.

Chigumbura said his side would bat first if he won the toss, and would have an attack loaded with spinners.

Teams (from):

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (captain), Regis Chakabva, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Gregory Lamb, Shingirai Masakadza, Tino Mawoyo, Christopher Mpofu, Raymond Price, Edward Rainsford, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.

Canada: Ashish Bagai (captain), Rizwan Cheema, Harvir Baidwan, Nitish Kumar, Hiral Patel, Tyson Gordon, Henry Osinde, John Davison, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Parth Desai, Karl Whatham, Khurram Chohan, Jimmy Hansra, Zubin Surkari, Balaji Rao.

Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and Bruce Oxenford (Australia)

Third Umpire: Steve Davis (Australia)

Fourth Umpire: Billy Doctrove (West Indies)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)

Filed under: Cricket

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