Jeffrey Murimbechi Sports Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe cricket flops returned home on Sunday evening from their nightmarish Twenty20 World Cup tour of Bangladesh, with convener of selectors Givemore Makoni conceding that the misfiring team came terribly short on the big stage.A loss to Ireland, in the first game of the qualifiers for the Super 10, meant that Zimbabwe surrendered their fate from their hands and although they won against the Netherlands, thanks to a last-ball six from Vusi Sibanda, and crushed UAE in 14 overs, they were always on the back-foot.
The Dutch won the group, and the right to play in the Super 10, after their sensational victory over Ireland in the final group game gave them a better net run rate to the Irish, who finished third, and the Zimbabweans, who finished second.
That the Dutch were bowled out for just 39, in their first game in the Super 10 by Sri Lanka yesterday, in just 10.3 overs, with the Asians galloping to victory in just five overs to win by nine runs, puts into perspective the gulf in class between the two teams.
Five Dutch batsmen were dismissed for ducks and only one batsman reached double figures in a horror fall of wickets that read 1-o; 2-1; 3-1; 4-9; 5-25; 6-33; 7-36; 8-39; 9-39; 10-39.
That the same Dutch team needed a last ball loss to succumb to defeat against Zimbabwe should also put into context how far we have fallen behind the leading cricket nations.
Makoni, who was on tour with the national team, said it was an embarrassment that an ICC Full Member nation like Zimbabwe could be knocked out before the start of the real tournament at the World Cup.
“Without giving any excuses, we are a Full Member nation and we are expected to win, the guys are expected to win and they should have won against Ireland,” said Makoni.
“We didn’t play the basics of cricket, we didn’t play well at all, we performed below par and there are various factors which contributed to that.
“We did not have the greatest of preparations and that is what happens when we don’t prepare properly.”
The impasse between the players and the cricket authorities, which led to a number of strikes, meant that a lot of time was lost in the boardrooms instead of the practice fields.
Zimbabwe Cricket and the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association have a long standing fallout since December which resulted in the interruption of the domestic season, which included a preparatory Twenty20 competition, which did not take place.
Makoni blames the labour dispute for the poor show by the Zimbabweans.
“Two days before we left for the tournament we were not sure if we were going to participate or not,” said Makoni. “We did not have momentum in this tournament because we were coming from an industrial action into a World Cup tournament, it does not work like that, whereas all these other teams had momentum.
“Ireland was coming from the West Indies and they were a much prepared team just like all those Associate nations. The minute we started to show glimpse of touch as a Test playing nation that is when we were on our way out and in the end it was out of our hands we had to wait for the outcome between the Netherlands and Ireland and we all know what happened.”
Interestingly, the silence of the ZPCA, in the wake of the World Cup shambles, has been deafening.