'Big score coming soon' - Coach Rajput on Zimbabwe's batsmen

Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza celebrate a wicket AFP

Zimbabwe are pinning their hopes on the senior batsmen to get big scores in the second ODI against Bangladesh on Wednesday. The head coach Lalchand Rajput was hopeful that incremental gains made over his tenure, which began on a permanent basis in August 2018, will begin to show soon.

Brendan Taylor is a year into his return from retirement. Sean Williams has scored two fifties in four games and even Hamilton Masakadza - who has played all of Zimbabwe's nine ODIs under Rajput - has scored just one fifty and sports a batting average of 25.88. Elton Chigumbura, who was dropped in the first ODI in Dhaka, has made just 107 runs in six games. Nevertheless, Rajput backed them to come good so that Zimbabwe could close out games better.

"It is a long list [of losses] but in the first eight games we didn't have our players," he said. "Now the senior players have returned and we are getting closer but not crossing the line. South Africa were 100 for 7 in one game but we couldn't win. Even in the T20Is. We are getting it together but the day will come soon that we will cross the line.

"The senior players have to take responsibility. Masakadza got a hundred in the practice game so hopefully he can convert into the ODIs. BT [Brendon Taylor] is getting starts so hopefully a big score will come. I am sure they also feel they have to get a big score. It is coming, I am sure it is coming very soon."

Zimbabwe had two big moments when they could have taken control of the series opener they played on Sunday. They had Bangladesh at 139 for 6 in the 30th over but couldn't capitalise, and later, chasing a target of 272, they made little use of a strong start provided by opener Cephas Zhuwao.

Another concern for Rajput was the lengths his bowlers hit in the last few overs of the Bangladesh innings. Imrul Kayes and Mohammad Safiuddin were fed a diet of full and good length balls that they could easily slog, helping them score 85 runs off the last 60 balls. And this was after Zimbabwe committed the same mistake against South Africa when they let Dale Steyn score his maiden ODI half-century earlier this month.

"We bowled really well in the first 30-35 overs. So we have to look at the death overs," Rajput said. "We have addressed it so hopefully we will do better in this game."