Ireland v Zimbabwe, World T20, Group B, Sylhet March 16, 2014

Qualifying scenario 'tricky' for us - Brendan Taylor

Full Members are not used to being in this position - having to go through qualifying to play a world tournament in a game only a handful of nations play at the highest level. But that is the way it is this time, and as Brendan Taylor said, it is a "tricky" situation for Zimbabwe to be in.

As the only Full Member in their qualifying group, it would be rather embarrassing if they don't go through to the main round. As a side that has not played any international cricket since September, and endured a stop-start domestic season amid the familiar monetary crisis back home, avoiding that embarrassment isn't going to be straightforward. And lining up against them in their first match is Ireland, arguably the best side the Associate world has thrown up.

Taylor admitted Zimbabwe could not afford any rustiness or complacency. "There is a lot of expectation from the people. We are expected to go through and we believe we are good enough to do that," Taylor said. "But having said that, Ireland is a good team, Netherlands have got some good players and so have UAE and we have to play our best cricket to do that.

"We have never been in a situation like this. It is very tricky for us. We realise we are going to have to play tough cricket. They [Ireland and Afghanistan] are improving all the time. They have got some really hungry players, some match-winners. They are really setting the bar for Associate teams. And they are really closing in the gap between the Test nations, which is good and healthy for cricket. It is crunch time now, so the better team on the day is going to come through.

"We are coming up against opposition we are not familiar with. That can be tricky. Each team will have a match-winner. We need to respect and give credit to the other teams. We need to try and play dominating cricket as you can be ball-watching if you don't respect other teams."

Taylor and Zimbabwe will be wiser after the shocking loss in the warm-up match to Hong Kong, though the captain felt the result, as bad as it was, would not have much bearing on his side's campaign. "No, not really. We don't have any day-night games I think. The toss was crucial against Hong Kong. We struggled against them, probably the poorest performance we have had in a number of years. They have got some match-winners and they came over and got them over the line. It is great to see that world cricket is getting stronger.

"We probably needed that kick up the back side. We came out and played the way we know we can against Afghanistan, who are proving quite a decent side at the moment. Hopefully we can carry some sort of momentum into the next match."

While their preparations have been minimal in terms of match practice, Taylor said the Zimbabwe players knew Bangladesh conditions quite well, having toured the country numerous times and also turned out in tournaments such as the Bangladesh Premier League. Also, for all their struggles, Zimbabwe have a wealth of limited-overs experience in the squad, and Taylor said his players would have to make that count.

"We are an extremely threatening team if we click. Unfortunately we have not played as much cricket as we would have liked to. We have trained very hard as individuals and as a team. We are experienced players. Some of us have played over a 100-150 one-dayers. There is no excuse, the players need to step up. We have been around for a number of years so hopefully we can keep improving and be a force to reckon with."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy on March 17, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    Ray yar, I hope you don't mean Ireland is an extension of England's 'territorial domain'. That might be upsetting to an irishman. As for mercenary players, they're thin on the ground in the irish team. In fact the drain is out of Ireland with England being the benefactor. Oh congrats to the boys in green, I beleive they won.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    If teams start thinking about qualification and its trickiness, whats the point to come and play even, take it game by game go out there play your best and do the ball and the bat and your fielding do the talking

  • Smart on March 17, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    BD beating AFG with ease should take a lot of pressure off ZIM players. Now they can play their normal game and win in style. IRE is a good team because most of their players have been playing for English County Cricket Teams. I would bet for ZIM though!

  • Faisal on March 17, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    t20 worldcup is actually a platform for associates members to describe their abilities its a GOLDEN CHANCE to show the potential ,t2o is so un predictable format that even an associate team on a better day can give tough time to top teams of full members so GO BOYS of luck

  • Suman on March 16, 2014, 22:51 GMT

    Yes Zimbabwe is a good & experience team But look out Ireland t20 (local)match record of some player R good b'cause some of there player playin FLT20 Those player knows how to win in t20 match. Also, In recent they defeat west indies in there ground. So, I think Ireland have the better chance to the match. Also, we don't have any idea about the new venue of Sylet in BNG, so depend on the wicket also very important.

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    I think this is the zimbaweans world cup to show the world what they really can do...they are due for a good outing. My prediction is ireland bat first and are restricted to 130 ish and zim win by 8 wickets.

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    I hate to be the one sounding the alarm but it would appear to me that certain associates really do not have a case for tes status given the compostition of their teams. Teams built on mercenary players which do not really reflect the population dynamics of those countries are doomed to fail. It would be a farce for the ICC to be hasty in granting status to such teams, the same applies to teams that are essentially extensions of certain countries territorial domains...without being too speciific.

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    Zimbabwe should go through.

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