Waller shows the way by freeing himself up
A positive mentality helped Malcolm Waller play freely in the first T20I against Bangladesh. Waller smashed a 20-ball fifty, the fastest by a Zimbabwean in international cricket, during his 68 off 31 balls; it was also his first fifty-plus score in international cricket after more than two years, the last being a 70 against Pakistan in a Test in Harare.
"I just tried to go out there, and back my game, free myself up," Waller said. "I was in a similar situations in the one-day games [where] I sort of got a bit knuckled down and I felt the pressure. Today I told myself that we lost four wickets, back your game and play your shots."
Waller set to work, peppering the straight boundaries with sixes and went on to strike six of them, to add to the four fours in his 31-ball 68. His method was as simple as watching the ball closely and depositing it to his favoured zones. "I just tried to watch the ball," Waller said. "I don't just look at one area. I see where the ball is, and I got a couple of areas where I like to hit.
"If it happens to land there, I back myself to hit them. I like to go both offside and when they come a lot straighter, I try to open up the legside."
Waller also said that the Zimbabwe batsmen were more positive but eventually their 131 wasn't enough to challenge a buoyant Bangladesh side, fresh from the 3-0 ODI series win. "I think the guys had nothing to lose in their thinking today," Waller said. They went out there really positively, we put the one-day series behind us and we focused on a new game today.
"I think the total wasn't big enough," he said. "We had to go out there and get a couple of wickets early. We managed to get them. They were four down and we needed to just build on that."
Waller also said that his job was to bat till the end, instead of targeting a hundred, after Craig Ervine and Luke Jongwe had got out. When Waller was finally dismissed in the 18th over, the Mirpur crowd found its voice again, an indication of the impact of Waller's record fifty.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84