Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st T20I, Harare September 27, 2015

Chibhabha rues squandering dominant position

Chambu Chibhabha: "I just had to mix it up, change my lengths, and today it turned out well" © AFP

Zimbabwe allrounder Chamu Chibhabha admitted that the hosts were "hurting" after letting a dominant position slip to lose the opening T20 against Pakistan by 13 runs. Chibhabha's own efforts with the ball had helped to keep Pakistan to 136 for 8 on a dry pitch, but Zimbabwe could manage only 123 for 9 in reply with left-arm spinner Imad Wasim taking 4 for 11.

"There are so many ways you can look at it, but a lot of us got out to soft dismissals," Chibhabha said. "We took the wrong options at the wrong time, and as a result we lost the game. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses, at the end of the day we were chasing 137 and, despite how well they bowled and how well their spinner bowled, it's just a score that you need to get. We were supposed to get that score, with the kind of players we have.

"Everyone is hurting. We want to improve quickly. We don't want to be the same sort of players that always get close but don't win matches. When we played the first match (ODI) against India, we lost by three or four runs. Today we lost by 13 runs. It's not good enough. It's time to start winning games, especially when you get opportunities like this.

"Moving forward, it's not every day that you get to chase 137 in a T20 game against Pakistan. It's really disappointing from us as players, especially the batting unit. If you want to win games, we have to execute."

Chibhabha suggested that Zimbabwe had hoped they would be able to bat first, given the dryness of the pitch and the potential for spin, but it was Chibhabha's seam bowling, rather than the spin attack, that caused most of the trouble for Pakistan. He removed Pakistan's top three of Ahmed Shehzad, Mukhtar Ahmed and Sohaib Maqsood inside six overs.

"In a way [the pitch suited me]," he said. "It was a bit slow, and it wasn't easy to bat on. I just had to mix it up, change my lengths, and today it turned out well. The conditions suited me, but this also has a lot to do with hard work and practice paying off. I bring a bit of a balance into the team, I can bat and also bowl a few overs for the team. My bowling came right today. Hopefully I'll have more days like this with the ball."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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