'It's all about mental fine-tuning now' - Taylor
Probably only fellow captains can empathise with Brendan Taylor's plight after Zimbabwe's last-ball loss to Ireland. More so considering Taylor himself had blown the chance to take the game into the Super Over by missing the stumps as Ireland scrambled the winning bye. Even as he must have tried to get a hold on his emotions, he had to front up to questions at the post-match presentation, the post-match press conference, and then the pre-match press conference for Zimbabwe's next game against Netherlands.
As he sat blankly in front of the mike, Taylor still seemed to be simmering at what had transpired on the field moments ago. But soon he had to voice his thoughts on how he would try to turn his side around in the gap of a day, now that Zimbabwe needed to win both their remaining matches and hope Ireland did not end up winning all of theirs. Taylor gathered himself and drew hope from how Zimbabwe had bounced back in the warm-up matches, comfortably chasing down 169 against Afghanistan after an unexpected defeat to Hong Kong.
"When we lose, we generally do come back stronger," Taylor said. "Had that against Hong Kong when we played Afghanistan. We realise we have to have two very good games if we are to have half a chance of getting through. We are not looking too far ahead. We are looking to a good training day and come out to win on Wednesday. It is as clear as I can put it for us. We know what we have to do and I am pretty sure we will have an improved performance."
With so much limited-overs experience in his squad, Taylor had said earlier that he did not need to tell his players what to do, and that they needed to take on more responsibility. And with only a day available between games, Taylor added there was no time for individuals to work on their games, and it would all come down to mentally working through where they had fallen short against Ireland, and avoiding the same mistakes against Netherlands.
"It is just mental fine-tuning now. You cannot be cramming in hours in the nets and trying to vary your game. Maybe you can go out and have a solid net practice but mentally is probably the most important aspect of leading up to Wednesday. Guys need to sit down, regroup and try and iron out a few areas we can improve upon and come Wednesday, we should be clear about what we need to do."
Taylor hinted Zimbabwe could tweak the playing XI that did duty against Ireland, although he said it was too early for him to reveal more details. "We have got some good guys sitting in the dugout so we might have a closer look at that. I haven't thought too far. I'll spend some time with the coaching staff and the selectors. There could be a possible change. We have got some talented guys sitting up."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo