Home » Sports » Bowlers Let Slip Zim’s Vantage Point

In the run up to the 2015 ICC World Cup, the Zimbabwe bowling department went about its business quietly, even received some plaudits for performances in the warm-up matches, but their World Cup showing to date has been dreadful.

Since the start of the global cricket showcase in New Zealand and Australia a fortnight ago, the Douglas Hondo-led department has magnanimously served records of various kind to opposition batsmen.

Considering that the Zimbabwe batting line up has been putting up valiant fights to ensure the team remains competitive even in defeat, it is bowling attack that has been a constant cause for concern.

Having reduced group favourites South Africa to 83 for 4 after 20.2 overs, with Quinton De Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers back in the pavilion, Hondo might have felt a tinge of excitement before David Miller (138) and Jean-Paul Duminy (115) ran amok with their bats to spoil the party in the Zimbabwe camp.

The two batsmen plundered runs with reckless abandon as they put up a record 256 run-fifth wicket partnership, to help SA set up an unlikely 339 target for the lowly ranked neighbours to chase.

One wonders how Zimbabwe failed to put pressure on an already hobbling opponent to capitulate in such spectacular fashion.

A four-wicket win over part timers United Arab Emirates in the second match relatively stifled questions of our mediocre bowling show. It is worth noting that Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Sean Williams and company conceded 285 runs to the semi-professional minnow.

It was the last match against West Indies that rang off the alarms bells with regards to Zimbabwe’s bowlers.

Over 20 records were set during Zimbabwe’s ignominious bowling inning, 16 for Chris Gayle alone, as he partnered Marlon Samuels to steer West Indies to a gargantuan 372 for 2 total, registering the highest partnership (372) in World Cup history while Gayle (215) posted the highest ever World Cup score by a batsman.

Commenting on the team’s bowling performance at the World Cup so far, Zimbabwe director of cricket Alistair Campbell said: “We started encouragingly in all three games, especially against South Africa in Hamilton where we not only kept it tight, but also picked up four wickets to leave them under serious pressure at 83 for four

“Neither the UAE nor the West Indies were able to get away from us in the first half of their innings either so, in short, we have plenty to be encouraged by in three quarters of all three games so far. The final quarter has been horrendous. Every team in the tournament is struggling to contain batsmen in the ‘death’ overs, but none more than Zimbabwe”.

“South Africa and West Indies both added around 150 in the final 10 overs to take the game beyond us, they were two of the three most expensive final 10 overs ever and if we had kept them to 100, we might have produced an upset – certainly against South Africa after we reached 180 for two in the run chase,” he said ruefully.

Surely, it is the perfect time to question the potency of our bowlers and wring changes before it’s too late.

As much as Panyangara has been impressive in his first spells, he has been extremely expensive averaging around 8 runs an over at the tournament while his strike partner Chatara has been more economical at the rate of 6.3 runs an over.

It could as well be time to summon veteran right arm medium pacer Tawanda Mupariwa, who thrives mainly on accuracy and an ability to swing and seam the new ball, although he is yet to make an appearance.

Amusingly, part-time spinner Sikandar Raza Butt has been the most economical bowler for Zimbabwe finishing with figures of 045 in 10 overs against West Indies.

Although he has been used sparingly, he has bowled at an impressive economy rate of 4.8 runs per over, miles better than prime spinners Sean Williams and Tafadzwa Kamungozi.

Zimbabwe are clearly missing Prosper Utseya’s banned off spin and Whatmore and his technical department could be entertaining the temptation to bring him back in the remaining three fixtures but he is only allowed to ball slow medium deliveries in international matches.

Whatmore’s side needs two wins in the last three matches, first against struggling Pakistan then associate side Ireland and finally defending champions India.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard