The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE will tomorrow wrap-up the Irish leg of their European tour with skipper Craig Ervine looking to make the best of their third and final One-Day International against the hosts in Belfast.
Friday’s no result in the washed-out second ODI looks to have put a damper on things, but Ervine prefers to look on the brighter side.
The Chevrons captain has identified the wicket, and how teams respond to it, as the key lesson from both the tour and the second ODI.
“I think one of the key lessons we can take into the third ODI mainly centres around these Irish wickets,” said Ervine.
“It’s not the easiest of wickets to bat on but in both games its shown that if you apply yourself, and grind throughout the innings, rewards can come at the end.
“In the first game, we finished very well and Ireland did the same in the second.
“We can learn from that”.
Ervine has dismissed any talk of added pressure going into the final game but did express concern over the bowling.
“I don’t think the no-result puts any added pressure to win the game, and clinch the series, as every game is of equal importance to us.
“The goal is to try and pick up points.
“Unfortunately, we got only five points from the second ODI, and Monday’s game (tomorrow) is just as equally important.
“We just have to treat it like all the other games that came before and those that will come after.
“But, having said that, we have a long batting line-up and still fancied our chances of chasing the target down.
“However, our bowling performance wasn’t up to par.
“We started very well, the spinners brought it back for us nicely in the middle and we would have liked to get some wickets up front with the new ball but failed.
“We paid the price right at the end, when they had a lot of wickets in hand going into the last 8-10 overs.
“It very difficult to contain a team that has many wickets in hand at the end.
“Our bowlers were ok, but our fielding didn’t really back them up.
“We have to work on that before the third ODI,” Ervine said.
Tomorrow’s match signals the end of the Irish leg of the tour, after which Zimbabwe moves on to Scotland for a three-match Twenty20 series.
It is expected to be a very quick tour, with the matches slated for September 15, 17 and 19.
For Ervine, the series presents Zimbabwe with an opportunity to experiment and tinker around with possible combinations.
“The T20s in Scotland will be a little more of an experiment; we tried a couple of things during the five Ireland T20 matches, and it would be good to continue that in Scotland.
“We can try to find where we can get the best use of different players. That will be quite important. It’s a very quick series, I think we fly out on Tuesday and play Wednesday, so we don’t have a lot of time to adapt to the different conditions as it is a quick turnaround.
“We will definitely need to hit the ground running,” Ervine said.