Zimbabwe desperate to show worth

Updated: 19 March 2011 11:54 IST

Zimbabwe are desperate to prove they belong with cricket's big beasts as they wrap up their World Cup campaign against tournament whipping boys Kenya on Sunday.

Zimbabwe desperate to show worth
©

Kolkata:

Zimbabwe are desperate to prove they belong with cricket's big beasts as they wrap up their World Cup campaign against tournament whipping boys Kenya on Sunday.

Zimbabwe, who played their last Test match in 2005, want to start playing Tests again but have often looked out of their depth at the World Cup.

They have slumped to heavy defeats against all four of the qualifiers from Group A - Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - with their only victory coming against minnows Canada.

Two points from five matches is a poor return for a team that harbours ambitions of becoming a competitive force again at the top level, meaning a win against the poorest side in the tournament is crucial.

Kenya are rooted at the bottom of Group A with five defeats from five matches and the poorest run-rate at the World Cup by some distance.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura singled out poor batting as the reason for his team's first round exit.

"Throughout the tournament we have fielded well and bowled superbly, but it can't be said about our batting. It was a big problem."

Zimbabwe have managed only one total of more than 200 during the tournament, hitting 298 in their win against Canada.

Zimbabwe's English coach Alan Butcher has also pinpointed batting as the weak area.

"All the batsmen worked hard for this World Cup. None of our players tried to give their wickets away, they are all working hard and trying to improve. Everyone is disappointed because we prepared well but couldn't deliver," said Butcher.

Zimbabwe's slow bowlers have impressed, with left-arm spinner Raymond Price emerging as his team's leading wicket-taker with seven scalps in five games.

Off-spinner Prosper Utseya and leg-spinner Graeme Cremer have also succeeded in keeping pressure on the opposition.

Although they were never in the game against Australia on Sunday, Kenya will at least take credit from a battling performance by their batsmen, who batted the entire 50 overs to score 264-6 in response to 324.

Collins Obuya just missed out on a century and Tanmay Mishra scored 72.

Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande has urged cricket chiefs to give his side more top-class matches in between World Cups to raise standards.

They have to make do with only a handful of matches against top-class opposition between World Cups and Kamande said: "One thing I know for sure is that if we keep playing against the Test-playing nations or their 'A' sides the (improved) performances will be there.

"But the thing is after this World Cup you might go and never see these teams again so it becomes very difficult.

"If we're going to prepare to play Australia again (in a World Cup) in the next five or 10 years it's going to become very difficult for us (without) regular matches)."

Topics : Cricket Zimbabwe Kenya ICC World Cup, 2011
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