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ALASTAIR Campbell’s theory that Zimbabwe were good enough to beat world champions India will be put to the ultimate test when the Chevrons take on the cricket powerhouse in their final World Cup assignment at Eden Park tomorrow.

The former Zimbabwe skipper backed his men to either beat India or Pakistan at this World Cup, arguing that they were playing well enough to achieve such a victory.

Writing as an authority on the official ICC World Cup cricket website, Campbell said there was enough in the arsenal of this Zimbabwean side for them to down the Asian heavyweights of the game.

He wasn’t way off the mark against Pakistan as Zimbabwe put themselves in a very good position to win the match after a very g performance in the field.

However, the Zimbabweans choked under pressure, while chasing a small target in Brisbane, and succumbed to a 20 run loss.

That victory blew winds into the Pakistan campaign and, from a position where they faced the possibility of losing and going home, they have now gone from strength to strength.

Their performance against South Africa was an awesome display of their attacking strength and they go into their final match against giant-killers lreland knowing a victory will take them into the quarter-finals.

That has also put Zimbabwe g performance into context and the Chevrons can end a spirited campaign, where they were just a break away from making the knock-out stages, with their heads held high should they beat the undefeated Indians.

Brendan Taylor, who captained the Chevrons in their last heart-breaking loss to Ireland, where they came within just six runs of completing a World Cup record chase, believes they have just played to 80 percent of their ability in most of their games here.

He challenged his men to turn on the show, in their swansong match, to leave a big impression even though they are on their way home and didn’t achieve their targets.

For Campbell, who is back in the management structures of Zimbabwe Cricket and has been watching his men battle from close quarters here, tomorrow’s game will be the last test of his belief they can slay one of the giants here.

It’s unlikely to be easy, by any sense of imagination, given the way the rampant Indians have impressed with both bat and ball, to turn themselves into one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Five straight wins, in which their bowlers have come to the party with some superb displays, have ensured that India top Group B with a game to spare. They have bowled out every team they have faced here and the Zimbabweans will be hoping they can withstand that force and become the first side not to be bowled out by this impressive Indian attack.

Even though India are a cricket powerhouse, there have been some concerns in their camp, in recent days, that they seem to come short when they take on the lightweights of the game.

Such concern has been raised given that their next match is against Bangladesh in the quarter-finals and there will be a lot of people keeping a close eye on how they do against the Chevrons tomorrow.

Everything appears to point to an India victory tomorrow but, as they know very well, things can change quickly in this game.

Campbell, too, will be keeping a close eye on his men as they wave goodbye to a tournament they, at crucial times, came short either because of their own frailties or fate that seemed to smile on their opponents.

A lot of decisions will be made after this World Cup in a Zimbabwean camp that only roped in coach Dav Whatmore at the last minute after a disastrous tour of Bangladesh exposed their limitations coming into this World Cup.

Whatmore has impressed a lot of the team’s fans with the way that he has injected a fighting spirit in this team and Taylor has already backed him to be given more time to make this team ger. Campbell knows how to beat India at a World Cup, he was the skipper of the Zimbabwe team when they pulled off a sensational victory over the Asian powerhouse at the 1999 World Cup.

In one of the most dramatic overs at this level of the game, with India appearing to have done enough to win the game, Campbell tossed the ball to Henry Olonga. The seamer then responded with a burst that wiped away the remaining three Indian wickets and powered Zimbabwe to victory.

The Chevrons might need more of such magic from someone, maybe Tendai Chatara, Tinashe Panyangara or Tawanda Mupariwa to win the game tomorrow.

Source : The Herald

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