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Zimbabwe Looks Out For A Few Upsets

Mumbai, Feb 15: With no realistic chances of clinching the coveted title, Zimbabwe would be looking to cause a few upsets when they commence their campaign in the World Cup against holders Australia at Ahmedabad
PTI February 15, 2011 17:29 IST
PTI
Mumbai, Feb 15: With no realistic chances of clinching the coveted title, Zimbabwe would be looking to cause a few upsets when they commence their campaign in the World Cup against holders Australia at Ahmedabad on February 21.

Having entered the Super Six in 1999 and 2003, Zimbabwe would be entertaining hopes of advancing to the knockout stage in this edition from Group A in which they are pooled with Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada and Kenya.

One surprise result against any of the four fancied outfits plus victories over lesser rated Canada and Kenya could catapult the Elton Chigumbara-led outfit into the quarterfinals.

Zimbabwe have created upsets in past World Cups, notably in 1983 when they stunned Australia and in 1999, when the mega tournament was again hosted by England, by defeating India and South Africa.

In 1983, they almost pulled the rug from under India's feet by reducing the latter to a sorry-reading 17 for 5 before Kapil Dev played a magnificent captain's knock of 175 not out to resurrect the team's fortunes and take them all the way to the crown.

The current Zimbabwe side does not possess the bowling attack of that 1983 squad, which reveled in seaming English conditions, nor does it have the batting depth of the 1999 squad.

However, Zimbabwe are capable of tripping a complacent side and they are going into the tournament with seven victories under their belt from 20 ODIs played between March and December, 2010.

Those successes included wins over the West Indies, Sri Lanka and a less-than-full-strength India as well as against minnows Ireland, besides a lone success in the 1-3 defeat to Bangladesh in the latter's territory last December.

The team has attractive batsmen in the experienced Brendon Taylor and former captain Tatendu Taibu, hard-hitting Charles Coventry - to name a few - and useful slow bowlers in left arm Ray Price and right arm off spinner Prosper Utseya who can apply the brakes in the middle overs on helpful tracks.

Zimbabwe's World Cup 15: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Terry Duffin, Gregory Lamb, Shingirai Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Ray Price, Edward Rainsford, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya and Sean Williams.

Zimbabwe's preliminary group matches: v Australia (Feb 21, Ahmedabad); v Canada (Feb 28, Nagpur); v New Zealand (Mar 4, Ahmedabad); v Sri Lanka (Mar 10, Kandy); v Pakistan (Mar 14, Kandy); v Kenya (Mar 20, Kolkata). PTI