Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Bulawayo

Today was a learning curve for me - Sibanda

Mohammad Isam

May 8, 2013

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Vusi Sibanda pulls to the leg side, Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Bulawayo, May 8, 2013
Vusi Sibanda anchored Zimbabwe's chase until the end © AFP
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Zimbabwe opener Vusi Sibanda said that being dropped for the first ODI against Bangladesh had served as inspiration during his century in the third game, one that secured a series victory. Sibanda's unbeaten 103 helped Zimbabwe chase down the target of 247 in Bulawayo and win the series 2-1.

"It [the hundred] means a lot to me," Sibanda said after the game. "All the hard work that I have put in, it is finally paying off. I was dropped from the team in the first ODI so it wasn't easy to come back, but I grabbed whatever chance I got. I hope this is the beginning of more hundreds to come. I would continue to work hard on my game."

Sibanda stayed through the entire chase, playing the first and last ball of the innings, forming a succession of substantial partnerships to beat Bangladesh. He added 50-plus stands with Hamilton Masakadza for the first wicket and Sikandar Raza for the second. Then he added 109 for the unbroken fourth-wicket partnership with Sean Williams. Sibanda played second fiddle in all those stands.

"Today was a learning curve for me, to keep myself calm and to keep the situation of the game simple. Sean Williams kept knocking it around, which made it easier for me," Sibanda said. "I just had to support him and the others who batted with me. They did the exact same thing as well."

Sibanda had nervous moments towards the end of the match, when the runs required to win were nearly the same as those needed by him to reach his second one-day hundred. Then the scoreboard said six runs were needed but actually it was one. Williams played out five dot balls to give Sibanda the strike, and he promptly edged the ball past the wicketkeeper to get his century.

"Unfortunately the scoreboard was wrong," Sibanda said. "We thought we had six runs so weren't under any pressure. But then we found out that only one run was needed. We just stayed calm and I hoped I get a chance to complete the hundred. It worked out well."

Zimbabwe's captain Brendan Taylor said the victory was a "massive" moment for his team, which won its first international series since August 2011. Since Taylor's debut in April 2004, Zimbabwe have won three ODI series and a Test series, all against Bangladesh.

"I think this is probably our third or fourth series win in Tests and ODIs in the last eight or nine years," Taylor said. "It is massive for us. It will give the players the self-belief.

"I think losing the first game got the best out of us. Our bowlers were different bowlers after that game, putting pressure on the Bangladeshis in the morning period. So the credit goes to our bowlers and the top and middle-order batsmen."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Mohammad Isam

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mahjut on (May 10, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

I understand the issue here but Taylor has done the opening position and failed there ... however, he fails less lower down - leave him there! Vusi's place is not in danger and he makes runs at the top (starts are something - even if they don't do justice to his ability, they help Zim). If he is the best bat - leave him at the top. It's not JUST about individual success. Vusi is and will continue to be Zim's best opener precisely because he is the best bat! Why set up a (relatively) performing middle order to fail at the top, when the top is looking good for the first time in decades? to prove a point? mmm, ok, so be it! good job Vus!

on to another conversation ... each to their own but Dravid, Chanders and Kallis I will pay to watch - grace and elegance can be saved for the ballet floor (an arena i am yet to drag myself to). History will look back at Kallis in awe ... and in a separate class to Lara, Sachin, Ponting ... because he is literally in a different category as allrounder

Posted by Anti_ZCFOutkast on (May 10, 2013, 14:16 GMT)

Vusi should open because he is an opener. He has no problem making starts, his problem is getting out once he has made a positive start. This is indicative of a concentration issue that would be present regardless of where he batted.

Posted by Julian_Vella on (May 10, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

@ ZCF_Outcast once again you show your bias by calling for Matsikenyeri to return and labeling him a legend ...... Please an average of 20 is far from legendary and what has he done to earn a recall ? He had an average 1st class season and for a player who has had so many chances before and failed nothing but an absolute stellar season of 1st class cricket would be enough for a recall. Maruma and Chakbva should never had opened but the only player in the squad who was capable of opening Hammie refuses to open so what choice did the selectors have ?? Williams should have moved to 3 and Hammie to open but Williams was left out not once but twice and the top order failed only for Williams to star in the ODI's. I will again point out that Vusi is an opener ( 1st drop at most ) he is at he's best when the ball is coming onto him and the field is up playing in the middle order when the ball is getting soft and the spinners are on would not suit Vusi.

Posted by Nduru on (May 10, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

@ZCF_Outkast. Point taken. I think it is really silly to push Chakabva and Maruma co into opening positions when there are senior guys who should play there as well. Bear in mind that No 3 is the KEY batting position in any team, so we HAVE to have our best player there. So I am not sure why BT comes in at 4, although on his day Hami can perform that role well. Lots of batsmen don't bat exactly where they want and I think its credit to Vusi that he is starting to perform really well in the opening position despite wanting to bat lower. I also agree that Matsi should be in the T20 side this weekend. But I hope you are not suggesting that the white players are still favoured in the team @Outkast? You must speak to your man Mangongo about that buddy!

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (May 10, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

@Julian, grahaam & Nduru you're entitled to your views. At least you maintain your independent identities/pseudonyms and project thoughts from your unique standing instead of sponging.

It's common knowledge that Vusi prefers to bat in the middle order. Always has& always will. In fact all of Matsi, Chakabva, Mutizwa, Maruma, Vusi & Chibhabha etc are middle order players but are deployed up the order regardless. Question you have to ask yourself is why are Malcom, Craig, Sean & BT etc immune to the top 3 batting positions even at domestic level? Their protected monopoly of that SOFT batting area explains their core presence in my comparison. Raza(unlike Joe Root&James Taylor) soon learned that as well. Not even Taibu's absence prompted their promotion above the less experienced/capable!

Great match&series victory for Zimbabwe. We all enjoyed it and relish more. I look forward to the T20s. Hoping for a surprise appearance from the legend Matsikenyeri. Zim's most dangerous T20 batsman!

Posted by Julian_Vella on (May 10, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

@ ZCF_Outkast once again you call for Sibanda to move to NO.4 where Taylor is positioned, which shows how biased you are towards Vusi. Taylor has scored 10 international centuries and is the national Captain surely he must bat in he's perferred position. Plus Vusi is an OPENER he is a great player of pace bowling and loves the ball coming on to him whilst the field is up, he actually struggles against spin especially at the start of he's innings so moving him to the middleorder would not benefit him just like it hasn't helped Shane Watson. Vusi's struggles and inconsistency is due to he's poor shot selection choice and impaitenceness at times not he's batting position. Vusi is now 29 so he's entering the golden period of he's batting carrer so hopefully this century is the starting point of a "Run Feast" for Vusi so he can become the player we all know he can be. And it's not how you make your runs, it's how many you make !!!!

Posted by grahaam on (May 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT)

ZCF-OUTKAST , again your posts read very erratically you praise Sibanda , but not Williams, you suggest Kallis is not in the same League as Ricky!!! I think you have a Dream of cricket without White African players in Zimbabwe. Williams and Taylor are very good players and are able Judge run chases perfectly as Williams just did in 2 consecutive matches if he had not joined Sibanda in the last match , Sibanda would not have got a hundred and Zim would have lost the match. Sibanda deserves this fine innings as he is a good player who has supported ZC through the difficult years whilst travelling abroad to improve his game . Credit to all those involved not just your personal favourites..

Posted by Nduru on (May 9, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

@ZCF_Outkast. We all LOVE watching Vusi when he is on song. You are right that he is very stylish. BUT, it normally only lasts for a about 5 overs before he is out! If only he could prolong it and score bigger knocks. His conversion rate is terrible (of converting 25 into 50 runs, let alone 75 into 100), which is why his average is so, well, average. I really hope he does go on to greater things and I thought it was really stupid of th selectors to put Chakabva in instead of him for the first one. He and Mawoyo are our best openers.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (May 9, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

@Anti Make them open, and drop down Vusi to 4/5, then we can talk boet!!

It's not a superiority contest. This is an article about Vusi! You can't even give him credit for reaching a hundred when he was already limping by the time he got to his half century. Unbelievable.

If you've been following commentary during Zim matches, even those figures who would rather not, are simply left in awe each time Vusi is at the crease, and they have no choice but to express it. We're talking about class, and no other batsmen in that side comes close to Vusi.

Of the past players, only Neil Johnson's name was mentioned, and rightfully the co-commentator swiftly responded "Sibanda is better". There's a reason why Kallis is not spoken of in the same league as Lara, Ricky & Sachin, and why Chanders&Dravid will never evoke the same legendary status as some of their lesser peers. Grace & elegance are seldom traits available to many however productive they may be. That's what I pay to watch!

Posted by ZimFanatic on (May 9, 2013, 3:05 GMT)

The credit must be given to Sikandar Raza who played fluently in both ODI's to blossom Vusi and preventing him from going into the shell. The presence of Raza and Williams is a refreshing move and will serve for more future series wins.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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