ODIs Whitewash vs Bangladesh Puts A Dent In the Chevrons' Hopes for ICC Cricket World Cup Qualification in 2023

By Ashley Dube and Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza

The Zimbabwe men's national cricket team failed to add to their points tally in the ongoing 2020–23 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League following a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh. The three-match series was part of the Super League which serves as part of the qualification campaign for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. 

The Chevrons lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 3-0, dampening their hopes for ICC World Cup qualification in 2023. 

The Chevrons are currently sitting last (at position 13) on the World Cup Super League standings [as at 25 July, 2021] with a paltry 10 points from 3 matches following their super over heroics in Rawalpindi versus Pakistan last year. England lead the standings with a total of 95 points, followed by Bangladesh with 80 points - attesting to the latter's better performances in ODIs. Australia sits at 49 points, closely followed by India which has 49 points.

With Bangladesh leading two nil, Zimbabwe desperately needed a win before they play Ireland (35 points on the standings) who shocked South Africa (24 points) recently in the ongoing World Cup Super League in their quest for automatic qualification. Zimbabwe put in a much improved show,  batting first after losing the toss and they set a respectable score of 299 for Bangladesh. Zimbabwe's series with Ireland has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Wicket-keeper-batsman Regis Chakabva, promoted to open in this match, top scored with 84 from 91 balls. There were also starts for skipper Brendan Taylor and young gun Dion Myers, who both fell in their 30s. 

Wessly Madhevere fell cheaply, before Sikanda Raza Butt and Ryan Burl combined for an exciting 112 run stand for the 6th wicket and at some point Zimbabwe were looking set for a score north of 300. However, Raza was caught at 57 and Burl on 59 before the tail was wrapped quickly, finishing their innings on 298.

In response, the bowling unit did not fire as it did in the first two matches with Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal leading from the front taking the Zim’s bowlers to the cleaners with some impressive stroke-play on his way to his 15th One day International hundred. 

He then fell on 112 off the bowling of Donald Tiripano. However Tamim had laid the foundation for the Tigers win with wicketkeeper batsman Nurul Hassan and Afif Hossain saw off the chase with Hasan finishing unbeaten on 45 and Afif on 26. 

Zimbabwe lost all matches including the one-off test, except for the second T20I win in which Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh by 23 runs. Madhevere, Muzarabani, Masakadza, and Luke Jongwe starred in this victory.  Zimbabwe lost 2-1 in the T20I series as Bangladesh won the third T20I by five wickets. Zimbabwe had put a valiant effort, registering 193-5 in 20 overs, Bangladesh surpassed the target in 19.2 overs (194-5). Top scorers with the bat were Wessly Madhevere (54), Regis Chakabva (48), and Ryan Burl (31 not out).

However, fans are now raising questions on the quality of talent the nation has as well as the ability of the coaching department in light of the losses. The ODI ranking in the Super League for the Chevrons are is low - but issues of COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions come into play as this affects the number of matches/series a team plays. 

It would be important to build on the positives noted from this recently-finished series with Bangladesh, while ensuring the negatives are polished up as the Chevrons now prepare to face Ireland - the dates are unknown because of the postponement. The series could be played around August-September 2021.

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