THE fear of letting the country down and the realisation that a lot of people take pride in what the team does on the field might have spurred Zimbabwe to
snatch a dramatic two-wicket win over Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe lead the best-of-five ODI series 2-1.
The pitch invasion that followed Elton Chigumbura’s winning runs in the first match on Saturday may have as well contributed to the pressure on the Zimbabwe team as they went on to produce a complacent-ridden performance characterised by atrocious fielding and batting the following day.
Again on Wednesday, the Zimbabweans almost blipped in a game they had taken the early initiative, but thanks, and greatly so, to the heroics of Brendan Taylor who, faced with a seemingly mammoth task of producing 17 runs from the final over, held his nerves to guide Zimbabwe to an unforgettable victory.
While Taylor was the obvious star of the show, kudos also went to a soft-spoken 21-year-old seam bowler from Bulawayo, Tawanda Mupariwa, who gave Taylor vital support with his 33 runs and perhaps surprised everyone but himself with his unlikely contribution.
Now that realisation, having sunk deeper into the players after the win on Wednesday, could either propel the team to clinch the series today, or pile pressure on the team again and bring the Tigers level to leave Sunday’s final match the decider.
Kevin Curran, Zimbabwe’s coach, expects Bangladesh to come out hard on his young side in a bid to even the series, but wants the job done today.
“We have to do it tomorrow (today),” Curran said.
“There is pressure, but we will go out there and stick to our plan. If we play to our strength, we will get a result.
“We need our big players to come to the party. We want to see the whole team gel, more of a team effort.
“The good thing is that we have managed to win games when the team has not been playing too well. We have had good individual efforts and if we get more of a team effort, we will be stronger.”
Curran paid tribute to Taylor for his plucky batting.
“It was better than any ODI innings that I’ve seen from any Zimbabwean batsman. That sort of performance, you don’t often see it,” he said.
“The partnership with Mupariwa was fantastic. He (Mupariwa) has put in a lot of work in the nets and has improved. That won the match for us.”
Meanwhile Mupariwa, who twisted his ankle as he was attempting to turn for a single leading to his run-out, has been ruled out of the rest of the series. His frontline bowling partner, Edward Rainsford, who missed the third ODI, has however been declared fit to play after doing light training yesterday.