The Zimbabwe cricket team faces Sri Lanka in a crucial encounter at the Pallekele Stadium tomorrow, hoping for a win that will revive their faltering World Cup ambitions.An analysis of past contests between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka reveals that the odds are staked heavily against the Southern Africa nation going into Thursdayâ€™s crucial Group A clash.
Out of 46 One Day International matches, the Asians have won 38, with Zimbabwe winning 7, while one encounter did not yield a result.
Zimbabwe has also never beaten Sri Lanka in the sub continent where theyâ€™ve lost 11 times or in the World Cup tournament.
In the past 17 ODIs between these two nations, Zimbabwe has recorded a single win in a triangular series involving India at Harare Sports Club last year.
Zimbabweâ€™s opening partnership continues to be a big letdown as has been the case at this yearâ€™s World Cup.
Brendon Taylor and Charles Coventry have underperformed on the global stage where they were expected to flourish although Taylor redeemed himself to a certain extent with a battling 44 in the humiliating 10 wicket mauling by New Zealand.
Coventry on the other hand has given the impression that he is more of a tourist than a top order batsman as heâ€™s managed a paltry 18 runs in three innings.
Captain Elton Chigumbura has also been disappointing, managing just 20 runs in three matches.
Tatenda Taibu, who has scored 113 runs in three innings and Craig Ervine with 96 runs to date, have both been the teamâ€™s decent performers, while Prosper Utseya has done better than some top order players coming in as a tail ender.
The coming in of Vusi Sibanda as replacement for left hand batsman Sean Williams who fractured his thumb in the build up to the match against New Zealand is expected to provide more options at the top of the batting order.
On the bowling front, Ray Price has looked the most threatening of the bowlers and is expected to play a key role in Zimbabweâ€™s quest for a win.
On the other side, The Sri Lankans are just one win away from sealing a quarter final place.
Despite the close defeat to Pakistan and the rain abandoned match against Australia, the co hosts are looking good. Kumar Sangakkara who has 241 runs under his belt so far at the world cup is third on the list of highest run scorers while Tillakaratne Dilshan with 139 runs and Mahela Jayewardene who has scored 125 runs have also been impressive.
In the bowling department the menacing Lasith Malinga who dismantled Kenya with 6 for 38 including a hat-trick, and the likes of Thisara Perera, Muttiah Muralitharan and Nuwan Kulasekara have been among the wicket takers and are expected to tighten the screws on the Zimbabwean batsmen.