Zimbabwe failed to build on their stunning win over South Africa and fell by six wickets to Bangladesh on Thursday. The strong favorites South Africa, after starting the series on a winning note, have lost two matches on the trot; including today’s loss to Bangladesh in a nail biting last over finish.
The doors to the finals are open now, with all three teams in the running, making the outcome of the last group game tomorrow between Zimbabwe and South Africa important.
June 23, Harare Sports Club, Harare
Starting Time: 1300 Local Time (1100 GMT time)
South Africa is struggling to find the right combination for their T20 side. This is not great news with the T20 world cup on the horizon. Justin Ontong was given another chance after failing to score in the first two games, and has managed to find himself amongst the runs in today’s game with a steady 41. They are likely to field a different side tomorrow, with an overall dismal performance in all departments in the last two games.
Zimbabwe, despite of their loss to Bangladesh should not require a lot of changes in their squad. They have a well rounded side which is capable of beating the Proteas again.
Graeme Cremer (ZIM)
The young Zimbabwean leg-spinner has had a lot of his International success against South Africa. Apart from six test wickets in two matches against South Africa, he has had an excellent game against the Proteas in the first group game of this series. He picked up 3 important wickets for just 29 runs in his 4 overs. South Africa is not a good side against spin bowling, and this would only add to the importance of Cremers role in tomorrows match.
M de Lange(SA)
He’s a genuinely quick bowler and has bowled with good rhythm throughout this series. His tally of six wickets in this series at an average of 13.5 re-affirms his importance for his side. De Lange dismissed the in form Zimbabwe captain in the game that the home side won on Wednesday, and he picked up 3 important Bangladeshi wickets in today’s game as well. Unfortunately, his efforts have been let down by less than ordinary batting performances by his side in both the matches. Yet he remains a force to be reckoned with due to his knack of picking up top order batsmen on a pitch favoring the slower bowlers.
How the two teams stand
South Africa is in a must win situation, having won just 1 of their 3 games till now. A win for them would mean all three teams would finish with 8 points and the net run rate would decide which two go through to the finals.
Zimbabwe is in a more comfortable position, placed at the top of the table with 8 points and a Net Run Rate of +0.279. They are likely to go through to the finals even if the lose to South Africa tomorrow, provided the margin of defeat is not too big.
The tri-series is turning out to be an exciting one. At the start of this triangular, it seemed like a series that would be contested between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to gain a spot in the finals against the likely winners, South Africa. But a string of good performances and surprise wins by the two lesser teams bring us to the final group game with the finalists yet to be decided.