TOWNSVILLE, Australia: Zimbabwe are hoping the positivity they have shown to secure a shock win over Australia can give them the momentum they need to make an impression at this year’s Twenty20 World Cup.
After losing their first two one-day internationals, Zimbabwe recorded only their third win over Australia in 33 attempts in nearly four decades on Saturday.
After victories over Bangladesh in both white ball formats, the win in Townsville should send the Africans full of confidence to next month’s Twenty20 World Cup.
Captain Regis Chakabva paid tribute to new manager Dave Houghton, who made his debut in Zimbabwe’s first win against Australia in England in 1983.
“His big focus was changing the way we play,” said Chakabva, whose unbeaten 37 lead his team to victory on Saturday,” Reuters said.
“We wanted to play a lot more positively, a lot more aggressively. It’s the only way we can compete against Australia and these other big teams.
“If we want to move up the rankings, we can’t continue as we have been.”
The new fixture list is a far cry from the uninspiring brand of cricket that, after losses to Scotland, Ireland and Namibia, resulted in a T20 world ranking of No. 11 and an even worse ODI ranking of No. 13 by 2021-22.
After a decade of reliance on the likes of Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine, the growing contribution of Zimbabwe’s younger brigade was evident in Townsville.
Paceman Richard Ngarava made short work of opener Aaron Finch in all three games, all-rounder Ryan Burl posted eye-catching bowling numbers of 5-10 and opener Tadiwanashe Marumani impressed.
“We’re trying to promote a game where guys can play with their skills fearlessly,” Houghton told reporters.
“(Sometimes) the boys just start, then they run down the wicket and give their wicket away, so we’re a bit torn between positive and reckless.”
Zimbabwe, who have never made it past the group stage in five T20 World Cup appearances, meet Ireland, West Indies and Scotland in the opening round of this year’s tournament in Australia.
With the squad bolstered by the return of fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani and veteran hitter Ervine, they have plenty of reasons to be positive.