|Zim cricket on the rise?|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 17:00|
On Sunday the 24th of June, Zimbabwean cricket recorded a historic feat when the national side humbled highly rated South Africa by nine wickets to win the Tri Nations T20 final.
The tri-nations final had been dubbed a David versus Goliath showdown in light of South Africa’s elevated status on the global arena. But that however counted for nothing as Zimbabwe defied the odds and refused to be intimidated en route to dishing out a master class against their bullish neighbours.
The Proteas who had arrived with a spring in their step left Harare Sports Club with their tails neatly tucked between their legs.
This left local fans ecstatic.
The humiliating 9 wicket hammering left the Proteas a battered lot and in a state of disbelief as Zimbabwe reminded them that once upon a time David slayed Goliath.
For a country that had criticised the sport’s motherbody for playing so called minnows in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the defeat left them shocked.
Some even bemoaned the absence of four players.
But former national team player, David Mutendera contends South Africa fielded a strong side, adding that Zimbabwe’s victory was thoroughly deserved.
“Credit should go to Zimbabwe for beating a strong South African team. People shouldn’t undermine Zimbabwe by saying South Africa was not at full strength coz they were. Hamilton Masakadza deserves special praise for his performance with the bat throughout the series,” said Mutendera.
But does the win over highly rated South Africa show that Zimbabwe is now ready to face the big boys of the game?
Cricket analyst, Dean Du Plessis though applauding Zimbabwe’s success says there is an urgent need to improve in the middle and lower batting order if the team is to make an impact at the Twenty20 World Cup in the Asian sub-continent.
“Beating a powerful team like South Africa by such a big margin is a great achievement. The top order performed well throughout the series and deserves all the praise.
“The middle and lower order were however a great cause for concern and that’s something we need to work on as we look ahead to the World Cup in the shortest version of the game,” said Du Plessis.
For a game that has been starved of stars locally, the country can have genuine hope in Hamilton Masakadza who has come of age.
Masakadza scored four half centuries in five matches and there is genuine hope that if he carries the form to the World Cup, Zimbabwe will have something to celebrate about.
Zimbabwe’s crushing victory over South Africa was the culmination of weeks of intense preparations in the buildup to the triangular series.
Before the triangular T20 series, Zimbabwe had only beaten South Africa once in the 1999 World Cup. But within five days, Zimbabwe recorded two wins starting with 29 run victory before the victory on Sunday.
Whatever the defeated South Africans might argue, Zimbabweans can bask in glory.
Most importantly, the team will go into the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for Sri Lanka in September full of confidence.