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ZIM UNDER PRESSURE TO HALT POOR RUN

The Zimbabwe national cricket team find themselves under intense pressure to keep the five-match one-day international series against Afghanistan alive when the two teams clash for the third match at Harare Sports Club today. BY Kevin Mapasure

The Zimbabwe national cricket team will be hoping for an improved performance when they take on Afghanistan in the third one-day international this morning

The Zimbabwe national cricket team will be hoping for an improved performance when they take on Afghanistan in the third one-day international this morning

The hosts’ technical team will be searching for answers on how they can stop the tourists and avoid a third straight series defeat against the Associate side.

With Zimbabwe losing the last two series in Bulawayo and Dubai, expectation was that they would be able to get one over what has become their bogey side.

But the first two matches were a big disappointment for Zimbabwe particularly with the bat, falling short chasing 216 and 239.

Zimbabwe’s main problem has been a familiar one — spin.

They will have to find a way of playing Mohammad Nabi, Amir Hamza and Rashid Khan, who have been the mainstay of Afghanistan’s success so far.

The absence of Sean Williams, who was overlooked for this series, has not helped matters, as he is Zimbabwe’s best at facing spin.

While they struggle facing spin, they do not pose much of a threat with their own spin, something that Afghanistan have used to good effect.

Younger players having their first feel of international cricket will have to learn fast and click into gear if Zimbabwe are to save this series.

Ryan Burl has exhibited a lot of potential and he doesn’t look too far away from a big score having scored 27 runs in the 54-run defeat on Sunday.

While it has been refreshing to see the likes of Tarisai Musakanda in the line-up, it looks like Zimbabwe could do with a bit more experience.

They may not be able to call upon the experience of former captain, Elton Chigumbura, who has been struggling with an ankle injury.

It looks like there may not be much to change, in which case the hosts need their more senior players like Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza Butt and Malcolm Waller to step up.

Zimbabwe will have to halt their losing run and recover from Sunday’s disappointment.

Their loyal fans are fast losing faith and having come in their numbers on Sunday, they were subjected to more disappointment.

Squads:

Zimbabwe: Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza Butt, Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer (c), Solomon Mire, Richard Ngarava, Chris Mpofu, Tendai Chatara, Nathan Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Carl Mumba

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (w), Asghar Stanikzai (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Amir Hamza, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran, Ihsanullah Janat, Samiullah Shenwari, Karim Janat, Fareed Ahmad, Aftab Alam

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