Any conversation you would engage with a Zimbabwe cricket fan right now would hinge on the loss we suffered yesterday at the hands of the United Arab Emirates in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018. Had we won the match, we would have qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.
But it was a completely different story yesterday. As the supporters sang passionately in unwavering support for their nation at Harare Sports Club, the team was in the process of agonising their fans, yet again. On several occasions the Zimbabwe national cricket team has failed its loyal fans, but yesterday’s pain was unbearable and left many at a loss of words. What could have possibly gone wrong? One would ask.
The match against UAE was one filled with high expectations. The math was pretty simple, a win would suffice a berth for us in England and Wales come 2019. As UAE put in to bat, it was clear the match was not going to be in favour of Zimbabwe. The intention from them to pile as much pressure on Zimbabwe as possible was there for everyone to see.
When the rain started, it was becoming evident things could be a little bit difficult for Zimbabwe. In 47.5 overs, UAE had attained 235, and that is when the heavens opened up. Zimbabwe’s target was then revised to 230 runs that had to be achieved in 40 overs.
The opening batting attack of the Chevrons did not exhibit any desires to turn the game into their favour. One could talk of factors like a wet outfield that restricted the speed of balls, the clinical fielding of UAE players, but basically our batsmen did not show the hunger to win the match. At 45 for 3, we had lost Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire. Hopes were already on the wane and fading.
Sean Williams and PJ Moor steadied the ship, Raza also came in, but ultimately this was not enough to save us. The batsmen finally finished at 226 for 7, any dreams for the cricket world effectively destroyed by a team that fans had perceived as minnows and a walkover.
The final for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier on Sunday will not feature Zimbabwe. It begs the questions as to why the Zimbabwe cricket team are masters at disappointing their fans and the whole nation at large. Is it a matter of poor selection in the team? Do we need new blood? Why does the team make all those errors especially with fielding?
The next chance is now waiting for the 2023 Cricket World Cup. One cannot fathom why Zimbabwe Cricket does not deliver when it is really really needed to do so.
So much to contemplate for our cricket national team, the Chevrons.