Zim battle to stay alive
Taylor backs his man
Robson Sharuko in HOBART, Australia
BRENDAN Taylor says the mission to keep their World Cup dream alive today is non-negotiable and he believes Zimbabwe’s cricketers are good enough to ensure their light is not blown away by the Irish giant-killers in this massive Group B showdown at the Blundstone Arena.
What he can’t control though, is the possibility of their World Cup being crushed by stormy winds that have been blowing in this city since Thursday when temperatures suddenly plunged and residents woke up to see Mount Wellington covered in snow.
The weather forecast for today, though, appears good and temperatures will rise into the 20 degrees bracket, but there is a possibility of showers throughout the day and Taylor, the stand-in Zimbabwe skipper, is hoping that the forces of nature won’t ruin his men’s battle to remain in this tournament.
Zimbabwe badly need to win this game, for them to breathe life into a campaign that has seen them winning just one of four matches, and then hope that they can also pull out one of the shock results of this tournament by beating India in Auckland next week to gatecrash into the knock-out stages.
Taylor addressed the media yesterday, at a Press conference at the Blundstone Arena, standing in for regular skipper Elton Chigumbura, who is unavailable for today’s game, having been knocked out by injury in the last tie against Pakistan.
“I don’t know if the weather will hold up tomorrow (today),” the Zimbabwe Test skipper said.
“We hear it might be a slightly better day, but runs on the board are always key, it’s probably a toss I’m not too worried a lot about losing if I lost it.”
Taylor was bullish about his men’s chances to put Ireland in their place and ensure that they keep their light burning in this World Cup.
“That’s non-negotiable for us and we wanna turn up tomorrow (today), we wanna win convincingly and we feel we are good enough to do that,” Taylor said.
“(Coach) Dav Whatmore has brought a very calming influence into the team, a very enjoyable environment, the guys are enjoying his presence and it’s been a pleasure to play (under) him.
“We have been enjoying each other’s company.
“It’s still early days with him, but it’s certain we will head in the right direction.”
Taylor said it was important that his men adopt a ruthless approach today and wants one of the top four batters to try and carry the team, with a century score that would put them into a winning position, rather than getting in and failing to make a big impression.
“We are not ruthless enough, we are aware of that. We will keep emphasising on one of the top four batsmen to try and bat through and getting 130 and 140 and that puts you in a winning position,” said Taylor.
“We have not been able to do that, getting out at crucial times. We certainly targeted t0his game, we are not taking them lightly, they are a quality side, we are playing some good cricket, 80 percent of the games we have been playing winning cricket and letting it slip in 20 percent of the game.
“If we could narrow that gap a bit, we got to be more consistent and get over the line more often.”
The Zimbabwe captain said it was a huge game for his men, but the Irish were also coming into this tie with pressure since they also needed a win.
“It’s a crucial game for us, and it is for them too, we are willing to win this and trying to push for India as well, we don’t want to go far ahead, but just focus on tomorrow (today) and, hopefully, the result will take care of itself,” said Taylor.
“We know we need to win this game, there are no grey areas there, we due a good performance, all three departments, we need to get that, if we do that there is no reason we should not win. They are a good side, we are very much aware of that, but it’s about time we batted our 50 overs, guys need to put their heads up, getting 30s and 40s won’t win us games, we need to kick on and get these hundreds.”
Taylor said they will miss Chigumbura who will be replaced by Regis Chakabva, who makes a return to the team likely to bat down the order, after his appearance as an opener really didn’t work out as he gobbled a lot of balls and struggled to make an impact in the team’s second game.
“He (Chigumbura) is working day and night with the physio to be ready for the India game and that’s positive thoughts from that perspective,” said Taylor.
“He has been a crucial player for u at the end of the innings, very experienced, he has got some great striking abilities in terms of hitting boundaries.
“He is a big loss but we have got eight batters who are batting tomorrow and so I’m confident in what we have to post a winning total or even if we are chasing.”
Taylor says he expects a high-scoring game because “generally it’s a high-scoring ground” and, for the fans, he said he hopes this will “Make up for an entertaining game of cricket.”
There is still the disappointment of that loss against Pakistan, when the Asians were there for the taking and the Zimbabweans let them off the hook in their last game, and it’s something that Taylor touched on again yesterday.
But, then, the Irish are even coming from a bigger mauling after they were put to the sword by a rampant South Africa in their last game.
No one can afford to lose this one but, again, no one can control the weather.