Ireland and Zimbabwe commence their Group B campaigns in the World T20 on Monday, with both hoping to make a winning start in what could be a key game.
Zimbabwe has the clear edge in terms of reasonably regular taste of high-grade cricket, Ireland is a dangerous side with at least half a dozen of its players regulars on the English county circuit.
Ireland defeated Nepal by five wickets but was then soundly beaten by Bangladesh, by 44 runs, in its two warm-up games in Fatullah, but beyond the fact that it helped him suss the conditions in this country, how much should be read into those results is open to debate. The consensus is that Sylhet will offer less to the spinners than other venues in Bangladesh.
While the Irish will be aiming to make an impressive start to the tournament with a big win over a side that has been away from competitive cricket for more than six months, Zimbabwe’s pride will be at stake as they are the only Full Member nation of the International Cricket Council (ICC) which is in the qualifying round.
The Brendan Taylor-led side hasn’t played international cricket since their famous victory over Pakistan in the final Test of the two-match series at Harare in September 2013, as this is the only bright spot as well as a source of inspiration for them.
The rustiness was evident as Zimbabwe started off on a poor note when they lost their first warm-up match to a lowly Hong Kong side by four wickets, but they bounced back with a comprehensive win over Afghanistan by seven wickets. Hamilton Masakazda scored a fine 93 studded with seven sixes and five boundaries off just 52 balls as Zimbabwe registered an impressive win.
Zimbabwe may have got the rhythm back but the defeat against Hong Kong might have put them in ‘tricky situation’, Taylor has admitted. However, the experience that some of the players have of playing in Bangladesh, having played in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) will come in handy.
On the other hand, Ireland too have had a rocky start in the tournament as they, after beating Nepal by five wickets in the opening clash, succumbed to a 44-run defeat against the hosts Bangladesh.
|Zimbabwe Innings (Run Rate: 8.15)||Runs||Balls||SR||4s||6s|
|Hamilton Masakadza||c William Porterfield b Andrew McBrine||21||17||123.52||3||0|
|Sikandar Raza||c Max Sorensen b Alex Cusack||10||8||125.00||2||0|
|Brendan Taylor||c Ed Joyce b George Dockrell||59||46||128.26||6||2|
|Sean Williams||st Gary Wilson b Andrew McBrine||16||9||177.77||1||1|
|Vusi Sibanda||c Max Sorensen b George Dockrell||16||18||88.88||1||0|
|Elton Chigumbura||NOT OUT||22||13||169.23||0||2|
|Timycen Maruma||NOT OUT||13||9||144.44||0||1|
|Extras||(w 1, b 1, lb 4)||6|
|Total||(5 wickets; 20 overs)||163|
Bowler O M R W Econ Dots Paul Stirling 4 0 24 0 6.00 8 Alex Cusack 4 0 53 1 13.25 6 Max Sorensen 1 0 11 0 11.00 1 George Dockrell 4 0 18 2 4.50 10 Andrew McBrine 4 0 26 2 6.50 7 Kevin O’Brien 3 0 26 0 8.66 5
Fall of Wickets 1-14 (Raza, 1.5 ov) 2-56 (Masakadza, 6.2 ov) 3-78 (Williams, 8.5 ov) 4-111 (Sibanda, 14.3 ov) 5-131 (Taylor, 16.6 ov)
|Ireland Innings (Run Rate: 8.20)||Runs||Balls||SR||4s||6s|
|William Porterfield||c Timycen Maruma b Sean Williams||31||23||134.78||3||1|
|Paul Stirling||c Sikandar Raza b Tendai Chatara||60||34||176.47||9||1|
|Ed Joyce||b Tinashe Panyangara||22||28||78.57||0||0|
|Andrew Poynter||c Elton Chigumbura b Tinashe Panyangara||23||15||153.33||3||0|
|Gary Wilson||c Hamilton Masakadza b Tinashe Panyangara||0||2||0.00||0||0|
|Kevin O’Brien||c Sean Williams b Tinashe Panyangara||17||10||170.00||2||1|
|Stuart Thompson||NOT OUT||3||6||50.00||0||0|
|Max Sorensen||run out (Sean Williams)||0||1||0.00||0||0|
|Alex Cusack||NOT OUT||0||1||0.00||0||0|
|Extras||(w 3, b 1, lb 4)||8|
|Total||(7 wickets; 20 overs)||164|
Bowler O M R W Econ Dots Prosper Utseya 4 0 38 0 9.50 3 Tafadzwa Kamungozi 2 0 17 0 8.50 2 Tendai Chatara 4 0 20 1 5.00 11 Tinashe Panyangara 4 1 37 4 9.25 9 Sean Williams 4 0 27 1 6.75 6 Hamilton Masakadza 2 0 20 0 10.00 2
Fall of Wickets 1-80 (Porterfield, 8.2 ov) 2-100 (Stirling, 10.3 ov) 3-129 (Poynter, 14.4 ov) 4-129 (Wilson, 14.6 ov) 5-157 (O’Brien, 17.6 ov) 6-162 (Joyce, 19.3 ov) 7-162 (Sorensen, 19.4 ov)