Zimbabwe A may have messed up on their first match of the Emerging Nations tournament, against Denmark in Harare, but they would have been quite humiliated without a fighting innings of 64 by their number four batsman Dion Ebrahim. Here he talks to John Ward about that match.
JW: First of all, Dion, can you describe the match conditions, please.
DE: The pitch was fairly bouncy; it gave a lot of steep bounce, and the Danish bowlers used that very well, with a good high action. They moved the ball around well and I think that's what got our batsmen into a bit of trouble.
JW: What was the situation when you went in to bat?
DE: We were one run for the loss of two wickets, in the first over.
JW: So what was your game plan as you went in to bat?
DE: My main aim was just to stay there. Runs weren't the biggest issue as we had just lost two quick wickets. I just had to stay there, steady the ship and try to calm things down. It got worse and worse with more and more batsmen dropping, so I started very slowly.
JW: Did you find it difficult batting out there?
DE: I did, with the variable and steep bounce, together with the changes of pace the bowlers used.
JW: Did the pitch change as the match went on?
DE: Yes, it got less bounce and flattened out towards the end.
JW: Which bowlers did you find the most difficult?
DE: Their opening left-arm bowler, Thomas Hansen. He varied his pace well and he managed to make the most of the steep bounce because of his height. I think he put all of our batsmen under pressure, in trouble.
JW: How did you manage with the others?
DE: I coped with the others fairly well, didn't take any risks. He was the main bowler, and our plan was just to see him through and then pick off the other guys.
JW: When did you finally find a partner to stay with you?
DE: I got a lot of assistance from Dave Mutendera and Warren Gilmour. I;m not sure how many our partnerships were worth, but they were the steadiest.
JW: Did you find the pressure on you seemed to relax as time went on.
DE: I felt I was relaxing more towards the end and actually enjoying the challenge. It's about the third time it's happened to me, batting at four and coming in in the first over and wickets dropping around me.
JW: What shots do you remember the best?
DE: There weren't too many of them; to be honest I can't remember. I do remember getting my fifty up, a leg glide off a short ball.
JW: You did seem to enjoy a couple of narrow escapes during your innings.
DE: Well, I felt I needed to get a few more runs on the board. Wickets were dropping so fast that I could see a situation to come where we were left with one wicket in hand and not many runs on the board, so I did occasionally take the initiative and went for some risky shots.
JW: How were you out in the end?
DE: Caught midwicket, sweeping their left-arm spinner.
JW: Fortunately our later batsmen came in and got us some good runs.
DE: It's unfortunate that our top order didn't do too well.
JW: We would have been in a sorry state without your innings, though. Can you go over the Denmark innings now?
DE: I think we played well, given that we were a bit unfortunate with some chances not going to hand or going to ground. I did feel that we underestimated them.
JW: Do you think perhaps our players were a bit over-confident.
DE: Maybe. Maybe, I'm not quite sure.
JW: Which of the Danish batsmen impressed you the most?
DE: Their opener Pedersen who got a fifty, but then gave it away. He was very strong on the off side.
JW: What were relationships like on the field between our team and the Danish players?
DE: Very friendly. They were competitive but friendly.
JW: What is your overall impression of the Danish team, compared with, say, a Zimbabwe first-league club side?
DE: I'd say they would be stronger than a first-league side. They're strong competitors as well.