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WT20 EXIT DISAPPOINTS WHATMORE

ZIMBABWE coach Dav Whatmore has expressed extreme disappointment at the team’s early exit from the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 competition currently taking place in India. DANIEL NHAKANISO

The national side failed to progress to the Super 10 stage of the ICC World T20 showpiece for the second time on the trot, this time missing out to associate side Afghanistan after a 59-run defeat in Nagpur last Saturday.

Chasing Afghanistan’s 186 for six in a game they had to win to join the other Full Member nations in the Super 10 stage of the tournament, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 127 in the penultimate over of the day-night match.

Zimbabwe had earlier in the qualifying phase of the competition managed unconvincing wins over minnows Hong Kong and Scotland before the decisive encounter against Afghanistan.

A dejected Whatmore, who declared before the qualifiers that that failure to progress was not an option, said failure to perform consistently well was the main reason the team flopped in its bid to join the main party.

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” Whatmore told IndependentSport yesterday. “Having said beforehand that qualifying for the Super 10 was non-negotiable I was really gutted that we did not manage to progress to the Super 10.

“The preparations were quite good, I thought we had prepared as well as we could and everyone understood their role in the team. Unfortunately, we were simply not equal to the challenge. We lacked the consistency and I believe it’s something that we will need to improve on even as we look ahead.”

He said despite looking good in the run up to the tournament, the team’s batting was not up to scratch.

“The batting had been good and everyone understood their role, but we were not able to execute at crucial moments in our matches. Our bowling has also been very good but we bowled well in patches,” he said.

Whatmore also lamented the late injuries to chief spinner Graeme Cremer, all-rounder Luke Jongwe and seamer Neville Madziva, saying their withdrawal from the squad on the eve of the tournament had a massive impact on the team’s plans.

Cremer and Madziva suffered injuries during Zimbabwe’s second practice match against the West Indies in the United Arab Emirates while Jongwe was also ruled out after suffering a head injury in the first practice match against Sharjah Cricket Club.

“We lost our best bowler in Graeme Cremer while Luke Jongwe and Neville Madziva also had to miss out due to injuries. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact that if any team that loses a bowler who is among the top five bowlers in the world they are going to find it hard fill the void. It meant we had to change our plans significantly. We still had to find another way, but unfortunately it was not to be and we have to take responsibility,” he said.

Whatmore said he was looking forward to the new season, where the national side is expected to host India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in home series that are likely to include Test matches.

Early this week Whatmore received the backing of the Zimbabwe Cricket board chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, who said his board would remain behind the veteran Australian coach as they believed he was the right man to turn around the team’s fortunes.

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