The Zimbabwe U19 cricket side enjoyed a historic victory against Australia at the Abu Dhabi Oval 1 on Monday (February 10) albeit in a warm-up match. Could the development efforts and sticking to the same players be paying-off now?
It might be too early to speak based on just one game but there is no denying the vast talent and ability in the Zimbabwean camp at this year’s ICC U19 World Cup in the U.A.E. The ability to resucitate an innings displayed by Ryan Burl on Monday, might be what could see Zimbabwe through their World Cup campaign which starts on Friday against Canada.
Of the 16 teams at the cricket showpiece, Zimbabwe has the most experience alongside Namibia. The two southern African countries have fielded five players who have ICC U19 World Cup experience and judging by Monday’s performance, this will pay-off handsomely for Zimbabwe. Malcom Lake (Captain), Ryan Burl, Kieran Geyle, Cuthbert Musoko and Luke Jongwe were part of the squad that travelled to Australia in 2012.
Someone asked this writer today, “Why all the noise over a warm up match win?” I reminded them, “The Aussies were the runners-up in the last edition of the World Cup that took place down under in 2012. At the same tournament, Zimbabwe finished 15th out of 16 teams, placing both teams just one spot from either extreme.”
Despite Namibia and Zimbabwe having five experienced players each, Zimbabwe has an added advantage as some of their players are ranked on the top lists for batting and bowling. Burl and Lake are ranked fourth and sixth respectively, on the list of returnees with the most runs at ICC U19 World Cup. Luke Jongwe is ranked third on top wicket-takers list for the returnees having taken 10 wickets, all from the last edition of the tournament.
Will the experience count for Zimbabwe? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image Credit : ICC