Defending champions West Indies, who have seen their game plummet to absymal levels, are seeing a mini-revival under Brian Lara with one-day series victories over India in the Carribean Isles and Malaysia as well as a win against Australia also in Malaysia. Though they had lost to the world champs in the final there, they are hoping to prove their critics wrong with a good performance here.
The batting side of the Windies looks in ominous form with Chris Gayle, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and the one and only Brian Lara all in good form. They also have Wavell Hinds, Runako Morton and Dwayne Bravo in the middle order, making them a formidable side.
However, the one weakness in their batting is the inconsistency. Lara may go for extra batsman morrow
One day they could take apart the best attack in the world and the next, they could collapse against the weakest attack.
WI also have a capable bowling attack in players such as Bradshaw, Collymore, Edwards and D Smith, the pacers. They also have a few allrounders in players such as Chris Gayle and Wavell Hinds as well as Sarwan, who can slow down things with their tidy spin bowling.
Zimbabwe would have to try and exploit this inconsistency as they are no match to the men from the Carribean. The African nation which has been hit by a mass exodus of senior players following the political turmoil there, has in Prosper Utseya a young captain looking to restore some of the pride for their nation. Zimbabwe are counting on H Masakadza and S Matsikenyeri to give them the fire power up the order, with Duffin and Taylor to open the innings. Their bowling is nothing much to write about with Ireland and Utseya being their main bowlers.
Meanwhile, the wicket provided for the match is likely to be a batsman's paradise and any side winning the toss would be looking to bat first and put up a huge score and pile on the pressure.
The match has not evoked the kind of support, which the organisers would have been hoping for. With the exam season on and two bottom rung teams in fray, the public have not taken too much interest in buying tickets for this match.
The teams: Zimbabwe: P Utseya (captain), C J Chibhabha, E Chigumbura, T Duffin, A J Ireland, T Kamungozi, H Masakadza, S Matsikenyeri, T V Mufambisi, T Mupariwa, E C Rainsford, H P Rinke, G M Strydom, B R M Taylor (wk).
West Indies: B Lara (captain), R Sarwan (vice-captain), C S Baugh (wk), Ian Bradshaw, D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, C Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, R Morton, M Samuels, D Smith, J Taylor.