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September 27, 2000
Bryan Strang, until recently considered by the selectors to be a Test rather than one-day player, was one of the few Zimbabwean players with much worth remembering about this match which New Zealand won by seven wickets. He bowled seven overs for one wicket and conceded only 15 runs. He talks to John Ward after the match.
JW: Bryan, you were recently selected as a Test player but not for one-day internationals; now it seems to be the other way round!
BS: John, as you know, I think I can play both forms of cricket. Obviously it's disappointing to be left out of Test cricket, but it's also nice to play here in Harare. I love playing on this wicket and it tends to suit me. After the disappointment of being left out of the Kenya squad it's nice to come back and bowl well.
JW: How did the pitch play today?
BS: I think it was a bit slow. I think if we had won the toss we would have batted on it first. Our plan was to use our spinners but at the end of the day I think that if you were bowling and you put it in the right place it was really hard for the batsmen to play their shots. Unfortunately we didn't make a big total and so we didn't put them under pressure to play any big shots.
JW: The players must have been disappointed with the batting.
BS: Yes, I think we lost wickets at crucial periods again. It's been a problem for a long time but I believe all the batters who got out know where they went wrong and hopefully when we go down to Bulawayo we can sort that out.
JW: Is there anything that can be pinpointed as the reason for the failure today?
BS: I can,t pinpoint anything; maybe it,s just a small thing; maybe the Zimbabwe batsmen just try to aim for too big a total instead of trying to reverse the pressure slowly but surely. We tend to get becalmed, especially against a good bowling attack like this, and then we play too many loose shots.
JW: And when you went in to bat yourself the team was in a position where you hadn't many runs and not much time left.
BS: I feel I've been batting well but I,ve been getting myself out, and the situation was presented today when we had five overs left to bat and the coach [Kevin Curran] said to me, "Just try to bat out our 50 overs and get to 180" We achieved that goal, so I take some confidence in my batting down to Bulawayo.
JW: How did you find your bowling today?
BS: Well, I enjoyed it; I was a bit nervous up front, but I've had two good days, training and I was keen to show the selectors that I really can play one-day cricket, so I'm glad it went well. I was sorry I didn't come back for my last three overs.
JW: What was the team,s game plan when New Zealand batted?
BS: The game plan was to bowl as many dot balls as possible and try to get early wickets, which we managed to do, and maybe if the rub of the green had gone our way we could have had them three or four down. Craig Spearman batted very well, but there were opportunities for us and we didn,t take them - and maybe that,s just the way it is.
JW: It seems so often to happen that after we have batted badly and got into a difficult position, we get a couple of quick wickets, but then they have a big stand to win the match - the Lord's final against England being the most recent example.
BS: I think it's very easy when you,re chasing 180. It was the kind of wicket where you couldn't bowl wicket-taking deliveries; you really had to bowl dot balls, and maybe we didn't bowl enough dot balls at the end of the day. But all credit to them: they stuck to their task, just waited for the bad ball and put it away for four.
JW: And your brother Paul had quite a good day in the field.
BS: Yes, he caught my first wicket, and then a brilliant run-out, I think - I haven't seen it on television. And then he bowled all right - he had a good day with the bat as well.
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches