By Lawrence Trusida
THE Zimbabwe national cricket team, the Chevrons, have returned home after a successful tour of Australia where they managed to beat the hosts in their backyard for the first time.
Although they lost the One Day International series 2-1, the Zimbabwe national cricket team still returned home with their heads held high after recording positives in the tour.
The first match of the series saw the top order finally finding form after struggling in previous matches against India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Wessly Madhevere batting at three managed to score his highest One Day International score in the testing conditions down under, while Innocent Kaia and Tadiwanashe Marumani managed to construct a somewhat meaningful partnership opening the innings.
While the batting unit struggled in the second match, save for Sean Williams, it was the bowling unit that stood out this time, with Richard Ngarava having a wonderful tour of Australia where he became a nemesis of the Aussie captain Aaron Finch after dismissing him three times during the series.
On a wicket that assisted the seamers, Ngarava took full advantage of the conditions as he bowled consistently throughout the tour and was rewarded with wickets.
As the old adage goes, ‘save the best for last’ the Chevrons really lived up to that as they managed to beat the hosts in their backyard for the first time in their history.
It was a collective effort for the Chevrons as the bowlers opened the door for victory led by Ryan Burl who bagged a five wicket haul before the batsman led by stand-in captain Regis Chakabva mastered a tactful chase.
The victory also gave Zimbabwe ten points on the International Cricket Council, 2023 ODI World Cup Qualification super league and pushed them closer to South Africa as they are just separated by five points.
However, before thinking of concluding the qualification process to India next year, the immediate task for the Chevrons is the T20 World Cup set for Australia.
The Chevrons will break camp for a week before they start preparing for another trip down under, where they are in group B alongside Ireland, Sri Lanka and Scotland.
A top two finish will guarantee them a place at the super 12 phase of the tournament and the Chevrons need to be at their best to stand with the world’s best.
Momentum is in their favour and they just need to make sure they acclimatise and transform their home form into the tournament.
Zimbabwe has won six of the last seven T20s they have played at home.