ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Canada v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup 2011, Nagpur

Teams seek revival after poor start

The Preview by Siddhartha Talya

February 27, 2011

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Match Facts

February 28, Nagpur
Start time 09.30 local time (04:00 GMT)


Charles Coventry reaches his 150, Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 4th ODI, Bulawayo, August 16, 2009
Charles Coventry hasn't clicked in quite some time © AFP
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Players/Officials: Ashish Bagai | Charles Coventry
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Canada | Zimbabwe

Big Picture

Given what's transpired in this World Cup so far, Group B, which includes Ireland and Netherlands, has clearly emerged as the more competitive pool. While the Associate teams in Group B have, through their performance, challenged the ICC's plans of a ten-team World Cup in 2015, their counterparts in Group A have done little to justify their inclusion. By getting bowled out for 69 and then humbled by 205 runs, Kenya, more than anybody else, have provided ammunition to the ICC's argument but Canada are not too far behind.

No one expected them to perform a miracle against Sri Lanka, but some resistance against one of the tournament favourites would have given them confidence for the remainder of their campaign. That resistance was absent in their 210-run thrashing in Hambantota. Though underdogs, Ashish Bagai, their captain, said Zimbabwe and Kenya were the best opportunities for Canada to achieve a favourable result in this tournament. Against an opposition weaker than the one they faced in their opening game, it's time to step up and back their participation in the World Cup with some spirit.

There were brighter signs for Zimbabwe in their opening game for Australia. Spin is their strength with the trio of Ray Price, Graeme Cremer and Prosper Utseya restraining the batsmen. Spinners, in fact, bowled 39 of the 50 overs but the batting failed the team. There is significant experience in the top and middle orders but the bulk of the responsibility in Zimbabwe's chase fell on those lower down the list. On what is expected to be a flat pitch, against a Canadian attack, Zimbabwe's batsmen have the right opportunity to get into the groove.

Form guide

(Last five completed games, most recent first)

Zimbabwe: LLLLW
Canada: LLWWW

Pitch and conditions

The performance of the top order remains the worry for both teams in the lead-up to this game, and they've got the pitch they need to recover. The track is expected to favour batsmen, Netherlands and England were involved in a high-scoring contest here while New Zealand failed to take advantage of the conditions at hand. Neither team has an excuse to capitulate the way they did in their previous game.

Watch out for…

Charles Coventry: After his sparkling, record-equalling 194 against Bangladesh, Coventry hasn't quite shone in international cricket. An attacking batsman, Coventry hasn't lived up to his potential in the recent past, his last 18 innings yielding just one half-century. He's got starts, a spate of scores between 10 and 20, but his failure to push on has undermined, somewhat, the hype around him after that landmark achievement.

Ashish Bagai: The Canada captain gave up a lucrative career in the banking industry to play as a full-time cricketer for his country, only to learn his team may not feature in the next edition of this tournament. In a squad comprising five Under-19 players and without much experience, he's among the few the team looks to for guidance. He's been in good form of late, with six half-centuries in 2010 amid a series of other useful contributions and forms a key component of the Canadian middle order.

Team news

The seamer Henry Osinde walked off the field due to an injury after bowling just 2.1 overs against Sri Lanka. They don't have another pace option in the reserves, so they'll be forced to play a slow bowler or an extra batting option in the event of his failure to recover. The squad also includes Nitish Kumar, the youngest player in the World Cup. Will he open the batting with the oldest player in the tournament, John Davison?

Canada (probable): 1 John Davison, 2 and 3 Nitish Kumar and Ruvindu Gunasekara, 4 Zubin Surkari, 5 Ashish Bagai (capt and wk), 6 Rizwan Cheema, 7 Tyson Gordon, 8 Khurram Chohan, 9 Harvir Baidwan, 10 WD Balaji Rao, 11 Henry Osinde/Parth Desai.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura hinted his team would retain its three-pronged spin attack. They could go in with an unchanged team. They have seamer Shingirai Masakadza, allrounder Tinashe Panyangara and left-hand batsman Terry Duffin in the 15-man squad as well.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Brendan Taylor, 2 Charles Coventry, 3 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 4 Craig Ervine, 5 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 6 Sean Williams, 7 Regis Chakabva, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Graeme Cremer, 10 Ray Price, 11 Chris Mpofu.

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • Only three out of Canada's 15 players in this World Cup were born in Canada - John Davison, Nitish Kumar and Zubin Surkari.

  • Zimbabwe and Canada have met just once in an ODI, in Port of Spain in 2006. Canada were thrashed by 143 runs.

  • Canada made their World Cup debut before Zimbabwe did, though the latter went on to become an elite cricketing nation. Canada played in the 1979 World Cup, Zimbabwe made their World Cup debut in 1983 and stunned Australia in their first game. Canada folded for 139 in their first match, against Pakistan.

    Quotes

    "Against Australia we bowled well and fielded well, just that we did not finish off with the bat. So hopefully we will finish off with the bat this time. On the bowling side we need to stick to our strengths."
    Elton Chigumbura on what Zimbabwe need to work on

    "It's about spending time at the crease. The first few guys need to get us through the tough overs. Once we go past the first ten overs, it should be alright."
    Ashish Bagai spells out what Canada need to do to fix their batting woes.

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

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