The West Indies are off to the perfect start in this Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe, comprehensively beating Sri Lanka in their first match. Having seriously deteriorated as one of the major cricketing countries over the past ten years, the Windies have been in all sorts as far as results are concerned.
However, things are looking up for them after defeating Pakistan in the third & final test in Sharjah last month and are coming off a win against the Sri Lankans. The big positive from the West Indies point of view is that they have a lot of up and coming talent, not afraid to tamper with their line-up which has given us a clear indication that they’re moving on from the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Marlon Samuels. With Shannon Gabriel in the form of his life and Jason Holder’s economical wicket taking spells complemented by the spinners, the West Indies are the clear favorites coming into this match. On the other side of the fence, Zimbabwe are a team that can’t quite find that consistency despite being part of the International cricket setup. Just when you think they’re going to turn Zimbabwe cricket around after a stunning victory, they end up losing the next 2-3 games which is a huge headache for cricket fans in general. They’re a team that can turn up and take you by surprise, adding that element of excitement to a lopsided contest but the West Indies look the business already in this series.
Tinashe Panyangara v Johnson Charles
This match up could potentially determine the game, particularly in the first ten overs of the innings. Apart from Evin Lewis, Johnson Charles is one of the West Indies most destructive top order batsmen who thrives on anything square either side of the wicket. He put his powerful hitting on display against India in the two T20 Internationals a couple of months ago, although his form guide hasn’t been to impressive since. Lets face it, Zimbabwe dish up their fair share of loose deliveries which mean Tinashe Panyangara is going to have to aim for that early strike. We witnessed de Silva take the game out of Zimbabwe’s hands in the last match, although Charles does have a tendency to get out cheaply if you can trap him on the crease.
Jason Holder v Craig Ervine
Going for just one boundary in eight overs in his last game, Jason Holder is almost impossible to get away when he finds his length along with some swing. Holder’s height gives him a distinct advantage amongst others, not relying on speed but more so the bounce which tends to rise chest height, cramping the batsmen which really produces wicket-taking opportunities. Craig Ervine, one of the teams more consistent batsmen must avoid going into his shell against the West Indian captain. Most of the time, survival can cost you your wicket so attacking that sort of bowling would be the next best option. Having already scored two centuries, Ervine has the potential to win it for Zimbabwe with a similar knock given he can see off Holder and Gabriel.
Ashley Nurse v Elton Chigumbura
producing scores of 0, 0 & 1 in his last three ODI’s, Elton Chigumbura needs to pull his weight in the middle order. Renown for his aggressive & attacking approach venturing towards the end of an innings, we’ve seen Chigumbura take spinners to the cleaners with his clean ball striking ability. Last games debutante Ashley Nurse picked up 3-46 against Sri Lanka, playing the role of the Windies strike-spin bowler. His bowling was impressive, although there was the odd short ball here and there which is usually what Chigumbura pounces on, but in the form he’s in it might also be one of those wicket taking deliveries. Zimbabwe are depending on some quick scoring in the final ten overs, and Chigumbura is the man for the job provided he doesn’t get to carried away against the spinners.
Probable starting XI’s
Zimbabwe- 1. Brian Chari/Hamilton Masakadza 2. Chamu Chibhabha 3. Craig Ervine 4. Sikandar Raza/Malcolm Waller 5. Sean Williams 6. Peter Moor (wk) 7. Elton Chigumbura 8. Graeme Cremer (c) 9. Donald Tiripano 10. Carl Mumba/Chris Mpofu 11. Tinashe Panyangara.
West Indies- 1. Johnson Charles 2. Kraigg Brathwaite 3. Evin Lewis 4. Shai Hope (wk) 5. Jonathan Carter 6. Rovman Powell 7. Carlos Brathwaite 8. Jason Holder (c) 9. Ashley Nurse 10. Sulieman Benn 11. Shannon Gabriel.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.