The Sunday Mail
AMID wild celebrations after Zimbabwe’s national cricket team trounced Ireland at Harare Sports Club on Friday, two uninvited – but most welcome – guests made their way into the dressing room.
Swimming icon Kirsty Coventry and soccer legend Benjani Mwaruwari had come to congratulate a Chevrons side that is defending in a manner that would make Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho envious.
If Chevrons captain Graeme Cremer wins the toss against the West Indies in a Super Six clash at Harare Sports Club tomorrow, don’t be surprised to see Zimbabwe opting to defend.
On Friday the Chevrons defended a 211 score to romp to a 107-run victory.
The celebrations in the dressing were expectedly wild as it was also coach Heath Streak’s birthday.
And the arrival of Coventry and Mwaruwari took it all to another level.
“It was very special to have them come up to the change room to congratulate us … and it’s so amazing to have the support from other sportsmen in the country,” said skipper Cremer.
Top order batsman Brendon Taylor tweeted a picture of the Chevrons and their guests.
“Proud to be #zimbabwean today! Great to have some special guests come into the change room.
Thanks for the support today from the crowd. Unbelievable!” he tweeted.
The victory over Ireland took the Chevrons closer to the ICC Cricket World Cup, and another one over the West Indies tomorrow will all but seal the deal.
Zimbabwe are on five points, level with Scotland who take on Ireland (two points) at Harare Sports Club today.
West Indies have four points and a win against Zimbabwe will see the hosts slump to third position before the last round of matches.
Zimbabwe’s last game is against UAE on Thursday a day after the West Indies take on Scotland.
The top two teams qualify for the World Cup.
Streak’s men are unbeaten against West Indies in the last two ODIs , recording a five-run Duckworth-Lewis win in November 2016, and tying a match in the same tri-nation series that also featured Sri Lanka.
Confidence is not in short supply ahead of the Windies clash.
“One more win, that’s all we need! We are playing some good cricket, no reason why we can’t go through the tournament unbeaten,” said Cremer.
Sikandar “Mr Reliable” Raza – who was man-of-the-match against Ireland after scoring an unbeaten 69, claiming a wicket and effecting a run-out – says they are taking it one step at a time.
“You can only control what you can, our plan will be to remain calm and take it one ball at a time,” he said.
“We are a step closer to fulfilling our dream which is to go to England and together we will make it.
I feel like all the 15 million of us (Zimbabweans) are pushing to qualify for the World Cup.”