July 17, 2000

Lord's will inspire us - Grant Flower

Grant Flower
Grant Fowler - promises to play his shots
Photo © AllSport UK

The Lord's atmosphere that intimidated Zimbabwe in the first Cornhill Test against England at the start of the summer will this time provide inspiration when they return in the NatWest Series final on Saturday, according to batsman Grant Flower.

After their innings and 209 run defeat in the first international encounter of the 2000 tour, Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower admitted he and his team-mates were completely overawed in their first visit to the historic ground.

NatWest Series

But his brother, one of the heroes of Chester-Le-Street who with Murray Goodwin formed a record partnership of 183 to lead Zimbabwe to a thrilling victory over West Indies, is confident that on Saturday, it will be a different story.

Everyone was over-awed
... now we will play our shots

"Everyone was overawed at Lord's last time round but this is at the end of the tour and one-day cricket is totally different to Test cricket - we will just go out and play our shots. It will be an exciting occasion but we want to stay relaxed and composed," the 29 year-old Mashonaland batsman who made his 130th appearance in one-day internationals at Durham.

But before they launch their assault on England in the showpiece final on Saturday, there are crucial psychological points at stake in the warm-up match at Edgbaston tomorrow, a game that will be played under floodlights in front of a crowd of 15,000 fans.

"It is an important game in terms of taking a psychological edge into the final. Even if we win, we know we will still be the underdogs on Saturday - we always are - but it will boost our confidence.

We have a real chance of winning

"England are a good one day side and they are playing well, especially their bowlers who are hard to get away. But we have beaten them before and we will go in with a positive attitude.

"Our bowlers and fielders have done well but if we can everything right on the day, we think we have a real chance of winning. Having said that, we would rather have had West Indies in the final.

"Winning would come as a real bonus at the end of this tour - some of us have been away from home for five months now and everyone is feeling tired and looking forward to getting back to our families."

Victory will give our cricket a boost

"We have never won a one-day tournament so for us and the people back home, it will mean a lot and hopefully bring everyone together. It will give our cricket a boost and create a lot of interest back home.

"I am hitting the ball nicely. I have been in this form before but it is different batting at number six," said Flower who normally opens the batting for Zimbabwe in Tests but lies second to England's Marcus Trescothick in the NatWest Series batting averages.

"When I went in to bat at Durham, I thought we had a chance. It was a really good batting wicket, once you'd got in. Murray was struggling at the beginning but he found his rhythm. We were't thinking of the target. We were just thinking of scoring four an over and then the boundaries started coming. We were encouraging each other all the way but it wasn't until the 47th over that we started thinking we would win.

"We have never chased a score like that before and we usually get thrashed by the West Indies so for me personally, it was the best day of the tour so far though for the side, that come-back in the Trent Bridge Test is still the highlight.