The Sunday Mail
YESTERDAY is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
Never has an adage rung so true, as Zimbabwe Cricket readies to mark the first anniversary of one of the darkest hours in the country’s history.
March 22, 2018 was the day the United Arab Emirates beat the Chevrons by three-runs, under the Duckworth Lewis, in the very last match of last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying Tournament.
Not only was the loss an embarrassment as it was on home soil, and one that no one saw coming, but Zimbabwe’s hopes of qualifying for this year’s world cup, in England and Wales, all but vanished.
In a cruel twist of fate; ZC, and the nation at large, will soon be called upon to put on their best suits and fake smiles and welcome the authors of that very heartbreak.
The UAE are expected to make yet another pit-stop here; for a four-match ODI series against the Chevrons, slated for April 7-13 in Harare.
And as talk about that fateful day continues; there have been a number of ‘what ifs’, scenarios floating around.
For the superstitious ones the bad omen probably started on team selection going on to the toss, before the rain delay, or maybe the batting line up.
What if Cremer had stuck his guns and gone with the bat first plan that had served the Chevrons well throughout the tournament?
In all matches Graeme Cremer won the toss from the group stages to the super six phase, and elected to bat first.
Through this game plan, Zimbabwe found success in all their matches, bringing them to the brink of qualification up until they ran into the West Indies and UAE.
In the make-or-break tie; Zimbabwe elected to bowl first because there was a forecast of showers later in that day.
Prior to that, and maybe most importantly, what if the team had not changed?
Big-hitting Cephas Zhuwao was replaced by PJ Moor who was playing his first match of the tournament.
Left arm orthodox spinner Tendai Chisoro was replaced by Tendai Chatara.
There was an argument Zhuwao deserved another chance in the line-up, given his track record against minnows.
What if Raza didn’t drop that catch, or him and Sean Williams did not fall so easily during the run chase?
In the 47th over with the rain getting heavier at Harare Sports Club, gun-fielder Sikandar Raza dropped a Mohammed Naved skier with UAE on 225-7.
Four balls later the covers were brought on as rain intensified, before the match resumed two hours later with Zimbabwe needing a Duckworth Lewis revised target of 230 in 40 overs.
It could have been lower if UAE had lost an eight wicket.
We can wish and wish that maybe what if the Harare Sports Club security didn’t turn back supporters since the ground was full to capacity, maybe more decibels would have inspired a heroic finish.
But like the quotation goes, “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
UAE are coming back and it is now up to the Chevrons to win and atone for the loss.