ZIMBABWE will today have a real test in the build-up to the ICC World T20 tournament when they face former champions West Indies in a practice match in Dubai today.
The Chevrons have been camping in the United Arab Emirates for the last week to acclimatise with the conditions they expect to find in India, the hosts of this year’s World T20.
Dav Whatmore’s men have so far played two practice matches with local side Sharjah Cricket Club and won both with ease.
However, 2012 champions West Indies who are also camping in the UAE, have taken the opportunity and will face the Chevrons in two non-official warm-up games today and again on Monday at the Sharjah Cricket Ground.
Zimbabwe are expected to leave for India early next week where they play two more practice matches against perennial rivals Bangladesh next Thursday and then Ireland two days later, under the International Cricket Council practice schedule for the World Twenty20 tournament.
The two matches are in Dharamshala.
The Chevrons will then go to Nagpur, for their ICC World Twenty20 qualifying Group B matches against Hong Kong, Scotland and Afghanistan
They will play their first match at the World Cup against Hong Kong on March 8 and the engage Scotland two days later.
Their last Group B match will be against bogey side Afghanistan on March 12.
Zimbabwe continued their preparations for the tournament when they beat Sharjah Cricket Club by five wickets on Thursday.
Having opted to bat after winning the toss at the Sharjah Cricket Ground, the hosts were restricted to 135 runs for eight wickets.
Opener Shahid Siddique led the SCC batting with 43 runs before he was trapped leg before wicket by Sikandar Raza Butt.
The next best batsman was Ayoub Inayat who posted an almost a run-a-ball 19 runs in 21 minutes of occupation.
His wicket was the second for Donald Tiripano who had earlier dismissed Waheed Waheed (eight), and finished with two wickets for 20 runs in four overs.
There was one wicket each for Raza, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Wellington Masakadza and Sean Williams as Zimbabwe utilised the match to give as many of their bowlers as possible an opportunity with the ball.
Zimbabwe then set themselves a target of 180 runs to challenge their batsmen. They reached that in their allotted 20 overs, for five wickets.
Leading the chase was Raza who returned with the bat to make an unbeaten 81 runs from 49 balls which included nine boundaries, three of them sixes.
He was chosen as the player of the match.
Williams chipped in with 40 runs before he was bowled by Imran Haider, whose spin claimed five Zimbabwe scalps in the first practice match on Tuesday but only two on Thursday, including opener Sean Vusumuzi Sibanda (28) who was adjudged lbw.
Afterwards, the Zimbabwe camp welcomed back all-rounder Luke Jongwe, who was discharged after 48 hours in hospital for observation following a head injury while attempting a return catch during the first practice match.
An x-ray revealed no damage but following a magnetic resonance imaging scan, the neurosurgeon advised hospitalisation for monitoring.
On departure last week, Zimbabwe coach Whatmore said the Chevrons are aiming to perform better than they did at last edition in 2014 when they fell at the first hurdle in the preliminary round against Associate nations.
The same format is being used again as the top eight ICC Full Member countries at the time of the draw were given a bye into the Super 10 league while the bottom two Full Members engage in round robin play-offs with the Associate members.
If Zimbabwe sail through from their first round group, they will join England, South Africa, defending champions Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the Super 10 stage.
Group A also has Bangladesh, Ireland, the Netherlands and debutants Oman. The winner of Group A will join Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Hamilton Masakadza (capt), Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Luke Jongwe, Tendai Chisoro, Neville Madziva, Malcolm Waller, Vusi Sibanda, Graeme Cremer; Donald Tiripano (stand-by), Chamunorwa Chibhabha (standby)
West Indies squad
Darren Sammy (Captain), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, and Jerome Taylor.