NatWest Series thriving thanks to Zimbabwe
Photo © CricInfo
The NatWest Series is thriving, thanks to Zimbabwe's unexpected and spirited start to the tournament. They won their first two matches handsomely but people will be waiting, with justification, for their bubble to burst.
Zimbabwe's talent has been considerably underestimated for years, and during the past season they appear to have done their best to fulfill the expectations of their doubters most of the time. Their confidence will now be high, especially since Heath Streak has now been passed as fit to play, but it is traditionally very fragile. The West Indies, who consider themselves to have been robbed by the weather against England at Lord's, will be very keen to assert themselves and Zimbabwe will have to be on top form and confidence if they are to win again.
Pitch good for match
The sky at the start of the match was heavily overcast, with showers promised later in the day. The ground capacity at Canterbury, reinforced by temporary seating, is just under ten thousand, with almost half of these sold in advance. The pitch appears to be a good one for one-day cricket, but the atmospheric conditions made it likely that the team winning the toss would bowl first - as West Indies actually did.
West Indies played an unchanged team from that which played England at Lord's, while Zimbabwe brought in Streak for Gary Brent and, at the last minute, Stuart Carlisle for Craig Wishart, injured like so many before him at the pre-match warm-up - he twisted his knee. The teams are as follows:
West Indies: Sherwin Campbell, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Brian Lara, Ricky Powell, Jimmy Adams (capt), Ridley Jacobs, Franklyn Rose, Nixon McLean, Mervyn Dillon, Corey Collymore.
Zimbabwe: Neil Johnson, Stuart Carlisle, Murray Goodwin, Alistair Campbell, Andy Flower (capt), Grant Flower, Guy Whittall, Dirk Viljoen, Heath Streak, Paul Strang, Bryan Strang.