A look at the first ODI between Zim and SL

Posted by brmtaylor.com admin on November 20, 2008

Despite what must have been a record collapse, Zimbabwe can take a lot of positives out of today's match.

It must be noted that Sri Lanka were not playing at full power, they could have chased the runs down a lot faster if they had so desired.

But despite that, Chris Mpofu bowled very impressively. He beat the outside edge many times, and even the inside edge on occasion. He had some decent pace, and was the pick of the fast bowlers.

Chigumbura was consistent without being spectacular, he looked a little slower than usual and he may have been carrying an injury. Early in the Sri Lanka innings he landed heavily on his knee which may have impacted his bowling.

Utseya did not look like he was going to take wickets, unlike Price who kept the batsmen on their feet and completely deceived Jayawardene who was clean bowled.

From the batting, Chibhabha and Taibu both played well. I have had my doubts in the past few months about whether Taibu is overrated or not, but today proved that he is not. He was the only Zimbabwean batsman who had the belief that he could take on the spin bowlers of Sri Lanka. He provides an arrogance even, that the other batsmen do not have, this was evident by his constant reverse sweeping of Mendis and Murali... with success too. Not even Kevin Pietersen can reverse sweep with the same consistency that Taibu did, albeit if Pietersen has more power in his reverse sweep.

Timycen Maruma was seriously injured, it looks like he dislocated or broke his elbow and I don't think he will play a further part in the series. This should mean that Sean Williams plays in the 2nd ODI on Saturday.

Overall, Zimbabwe just had a bad day at the office. They simply had horrible luck. Losing 7 wickets for 3 runs doesn't mean the team is ordinary... out of 7 batsman you'd think at least one person would mis-hit a few runs! The batsmen really must have done something bad to annoy the cricket Gods that much.

I think the following team should play in the 2nd ODI:

Masakadza, Sibanda, Chibhabha, Williams, Taibu, Matsikenyeri, Chigumbura, Utseya, Price, Mupariwa, Mpofu

It would certainly be good to fit Ed Rainsford into the team to get a bit of aggression in the fast bowling, but based on Mpofu's performance today it would be unfair to drop him. Mupariwa may be omitted, but after just being recalled into the team he deserves to get an extended run, and play in the 2nd ODI.

Earlier: For those looking, a stream is available at this site for Sopcast.

Harare Sports Club looks as lovely as ever, although the grass isn't quite as green as it could be.

In the commentary box; Alistair Campbell, Dirk Viljoen and Darlington Matambanadzo.

Not much of a crowd in today, but it has grown a bit over the past 45 minutes. Masakadza was injured early on, believed to be tennis elbow. Some magic spray saw Masakadza fight on, although he is obviously in pain.