HOSTS Zimbabwe have their pride to play for when they take on Australia in their last round-robin match of the cricket T20I Triangular Series at the Harare Sports Club today. The Chevrons have lost twice to Pakistan and once to Australia during the week.
Coach Lalchand Rajput and his men know they need to bow out with some form of respect but they face the Aussies licking their wouds after a loss at the hands of Pakistan yesterday.
The Baggy Greens took the Chevrons to the sword in their first match with a new world record 172-run individual knock from their skipper Aaron Finch.
His opening partnership of 223 runs with D’Arcy Short was also the highest in T20I.
But Zimbabwe showed signs of improvement in their last match against Pakistan with Solomon Mire notching up the Chevrons’ highest individual T20I score after scoring 94 from 63 balls.
Zimbabwe will be hoping Mire fires again in today’s match.
Captain Hamilton Masakadza has found the going tough while a lot will be expected from the likes of Elton Chigumbura and Malcom Waller should they bat.
But the Chevrons technical could also be tempted to make some changes and give the other players a chance to show new interim coach Rajput they can also play at this level.
Australia come into the match on the back of a defeat by Pakistan yesterday. They are keen to bounce back to winning ways.
Finch, who has been in imperious touch with the bat, conceded that the team didn’t get going in any of the three departments yesterday.
“I think we didn’t get going all day, with ball and in the field and then with the bat, we could not develop any partnerships,” he said.
“I thought it was a 170 wicket. I thought we let them get away a little bit. Our fielding was a bit sloppy as well so it was a disappointing day all around.
“You like to keep winning all the time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that today.
“We have got a short turnaround for Zimbabwe tomorrow and hopefully come out here on Sunday and turn it around.’’
Pakistan are the world’s number one ranked side in T20Is while the Aussies are ranked third.
Given the quality of the opposition, it was always going to take something special for the hosts to compete against them, let alone post a victory.
Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza (c), Ryan Burl, Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Donald Tiripano, Wellington Masakadza, Brandon Mavuta, Solomon Mire, Peter Moor (wk), Chris Mpofu, Ryan Murray, Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing Muzarabani, John Nyumbu, Malcolm Waller, Cephas Zhuwao
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth