Zimbabwe fancy chances against West Indies

Published: Monday, October 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: Zimbabwe today sent out warning signals to the West Indies that they fancy their chances against the Caribbean team in their bid to qualify for the main round of the Champions trophy.

Captain Prosper Utseya said his young side has the firepower to script an upset win against the Brian Lara-led side in Ahmedabad on October 8.

''To be very frank, considering their (West Indies') lack of consistency, we fancy to beat them for a place in the main draw,'' Utseya told reporters here in a media interaction when asked which team between Sri Lanka and Brian Lara-led side they think they could beat.

The African team will then have to beat Bangladesh in Jaipur on October 13 for any chance of a place in the main tournament beginning October 15.

''We have beaten Bangladesh in the past and we are confident we would beat them again here,'' the 21-year-old off-spinner said of his side's recent 3-2 win against Bangladesh.

Utseya said his side's tour to South Africa before coming here would benefit them in handling big match situations.

''We are coming here after a tour at South Africa, the world number two side, and the experience of playing against a big team which has big stars will do a lot of good in the qualifying round,'' Utseya, who had played in the Duleep Trophy, said.

West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe play a qualifying round on league basis from October 7 to 14 and two teams will qualify to the main round.

Zimbabwe were thrashed 5-0 by West Indies when they toured the Caribbean in April-May this year. Coach Kevin Kurran also said his young side was capable of some upsets in the qualifying round, but refused to point to a particular team to do that against though he was confident of beating Bangladesh.

''We are confident that we would beat Bangladesh. We have to beat either Sri Lanka or West Indies for any chance to qualify in the main draw. Both are very good teams having some great players and we have to play our best to win against them. But anything is possible in cricket,'' Curran said.

Utseya refused to be drawn in the ''politics of cricket'' at home and controversy regarding former captain Taitenda Taibu's decision not to don Zimbabwe colours, saying that his team wants to focus on cricket only.

Key batsman Chamu Chibhabha also said Taibu's decision was individual and he has nothing to say.

''We studied in the same school and played together there. He was one of my inspirations,'' Chibhabha, who bats at number three, said of Taibu.

Meanwhile, fast medium bowler Edward Rainsford was raring to go out in the middle and enjoy the ''exciting atmosphere'' of playing in India.''I am excited about playing in such a big tournament in front of the cricket loving Indian crowd and looking forward to do well for my team,'' he said.

When asked what he would do if he fails to generate pace and batsmen go after him on slow Indian pitches, Rainsford said, ''Just go out and play your best. Why worry about something on which you do not have any control?'' Zimbabwe play a practice match against Gujarat Cricket Association side on October 4.

The Team: Prosper Utseya (captain), Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Terry Duffin, Anthony Ireland, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tawanda Mupariwa, Edward Rainsford, Piet Rinke, Vusi Sibanda, Gregory Strydom, Brendan Taylor (Wk).

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