The Sunday Mail
There was a moment or two during Friday’s game between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka where a win for the Chevrons seemed possible.
Well, not exactly possible, but most probable. After having posted scores of 296 and 302 runs during the first two One-Day Internationals (ODIs), all the Chevrons needed was to chase down 254 to seal the series and, hopefully, put smiles on a nation still smarting from the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals heartbreak.
However, much like their football counterparts, the Warriors, the Chevrons not only failed to deliver, but completely embarrassed themselves at Pallekele Stadium in Sri Lanka.
They were bowled out for 70 runs in 24.4 overs, which is now the ninth-lowest total score in ODI matches for Zimbabwe.
Friday’s 184-run defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup Super League is a bitter pill to swallow for the coach Lalchand Rajput.
“After playing so well in the first two matches, where we scored 296 and 302 respectively, being bowled out for 70 runs doesn’t augur well for the team,” he said.
“The seamers bowled exceptionally well in all the games, but our batting let us down badly in that last game.
“I never thought our batting unit would fail to get to 100 runs considering we almost got 300 in the earlier matches.
“The way we lost that last game is painful.
“The hunger to win should always be evident, and I thought Sri Lanka looked hungrier than us to win the match.”
After winning the toss in the first two ODIs and electing to bat, Zimbabwe seemed comfortable on the crease. However, once they lost the toss, they looked rattled.
Rajput believes there is need to work on the psychological aspect of the game, especially when the team are put on a chase.
“A psychologist could be a good idea; it’s the self-belief which is important.
“Whether you bat first or second, you have to believe in your capabilities.
“We don’t chase well and that is the area we need to work on.
“Secondly, while chasing, we have to learn how to handle pressure better.
“After getting Sri Lanka to 255, I thought we bowled extremely well to restrict them.
“However, there is no excuse for being bowled out for 70.”
With Zimbabwe still anchoring the ICC Super League log table, the coach is not losing hope of automatically qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.
“Automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup has become more difficult, but not impossible,” he said.
“If we take full points against Afghanistan and Netherlands, then still we can have a chance depending on the other teams’ results.
“I think we had ticked all those boxes before coming here; that’s the reason we did so well in the first two games.
“We played good, positive cricket and the intent was very good.”