Photo Credit: Zimbabwe Cricket
Zimbabwe will get their campaign at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier Africa 2023 underway on Wednesday with a meeting against the hosts Namibia at the Wanderers in Windhoek.
The eagerly anticipated fixture is scheduled to start at 2.30pm local time.
Speaking on the eve of the match, Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza said his charges had set their sights on a perfect campaign as they seek to secure their place at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 to be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America.
The qualifying tournament in Namibia will decide two spots at the global event.
“We have done a lot of hard work prior to this and I don’t think a hard net session or anything will make much of a difference,” Raza said after the team’s final practice session on Tuesday.
“We have done a lot of hard work back home, we were here a couple of weeks ago, so we now understand the conditions much better,” he added.
“But, more importantly for me, the boys are mentally very much ready and up for the challenge that lies ahead for Zimbabwe.”
This is Raza’s first assignment since his appointment as the team’s official captain for the format.
“Captaincy is big honour individually but also comes with a massive responsibility and I have spoken to the boys as well about the challenges, about the way we want to play and about the way I want to carry myself and the team forward and the promises we have made to one another,” the star all-rounder said.
Apart from Zimbabwe and the hosts, the other teams participating in this regional qualifier are Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Raza is expecting his men to not only cope with the pressure that comes with the favourites tag they are carrying as the only Test-playing nation in this tournament, but to also put in some clinical performances in every match.
“We have worked so hard – yes, there is pressure but there is nothing wrong with pressure – and no matter what we put in in our training, for me tomorrow is showtime,” he said.
“Every game I am expecting a fighting performance and that will look after the result itself – a 100 percent effort from each and every person and in every department.
“We have played qualifiers too many times and we know the pressure of a qualifier.
“We all understand what’s at stake here and everybody is ready for it.
“So, tomorrow and for all the six games, you will see a lot of fight, a lot of desire, a lot of passion.”
In their second match of the tournament, Zimbabwe will face Tanzania at the United Cricket Club ground in Windhoek, also starting at 2.30pm.
They will return to the same venue for their next fixture, against Uganda, on 26 November.
The following day, Zimbabwe will entertain Rwanda at the Wanderers before they wrap up their campaign at the United ground against Nigeria and Kenya on 29 and 30 November respectively.
All the teams will play against each other in a round-robin format, with the top two sides on the points table qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.
ZIMBABWE’S MATCH SCHEDULE AT ICC MEN’S T20 WORLD CUP
QUALIFIER AFRICA 2023:
ZIMBABWE SQUAD FOR ICC MEN’S T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER AFRICA 2023:
Raza Sikandar (captain), Burl Ryan, Chatara Tendai, Ervine Craig, Jongwe Luke, Kaia Innocent, Madande Clive, Madhevere Wessly, Marumani Tadiwanashe, Masakadza Wellington, Mumba Carl, Muzarabani Blessing, Ngarava Richard, Welch Nicholas, Williams Sean