West Indies vs Zimbabwe: The ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2018 have been very exciting so far. They have thrown up their fair share of surprises and now it looks like teams will be fighting till the last match for qualification. The format of the Super Six is such that teams carry the points won against other Super Six teams from the group stages. The top-2 teams after the Super Six stage is complete will qualify for the ICC World Cup 2019. The West Indies are currently third and in a tough situation to qualify. This match against the hosts Zimbabwe will be critical to the qualification chances of both teams.
MATCH PREVIEW West Indies vs Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE in West Indies vs Zimbabwe
5 points from three matches have left Zimbabwe in a pretty decent position to qualify. They have one match against the UAE remaining after this one against the West Indies and should be able to win that. This means that a win against the West Indies could almost guarantee them a place in the ICC World Cup 2019.
Zimbabwe has played excellent cricket up until now. They were challenged by Scotland but fought back to register a tie. Afghanistan also pushed them to the brink but eventually, Zimbabwe was able to overcome them too.
The heart and soul of this Zimbabwe campaign has been Sikandar Raza. He has scored runs consistently and been among the wickets as well. He also seems to be a player that is really pulling the fans back into the grounds. The support on the grounds has been fantastic for Zimbabwe and that is not something that can be underestimated.
We think Raza will have a huge role to play in this match as well. He, along with Taylor, Ervine, and Zhuwao at the top will be Zimbabwe’s best hopes to get some runs. Zimbabwe actually has a decent batting lineup at the moment and should fancy themselves against a West Indies attack that does not have too much to fear.
The real test for Zimbabwe will be to see how its bowling stands up against the West Indies. Cremer, Chisoro, and Williams had a good outing the last time around. If Jarvis can get in some early strikes then we think Zimbabwe could be able to put pressure on the West Indian batting.
WEST INDIES in West Indies vs Zimbabwe
Losing to Afghanistan could prove to be very significant for the West Indies in this tournament. There are only two places up for grabs in the ICC World Cup 2019 and no room for error. A win in this match should put them in a comfortable position but a loss will almost certainly spell doom for them.
Anyone who saw the match between West Indies and Afghanistan knows that Zimbabwe is going to follow the same line of attack. They will use spinners to try and pick some early wickets and then apply the squeeze on the middle order.
If the West Indies can negate that early threat then we are certain they have the batting to just blitz Zimbabwe out of the contest. To do that they will need one of Gayle or Lewis to go big. Yes, we know that Hetmyer, Holder, and Powell have scored a lot of runs in this tournament but it has to be one of the openers to really lay down the hammer.
The real question is whether the West Indian players will approach this match with freedom or worry about the result. Against Afghanistan, we sensed a trepidation in the West Indian approach that ultimately led to their downfall.
Gayle and the others must bat with freedom to get the best out of their batting.
The West Indian bowling has been led by Jason Holder, who has the most wickets in the side and is well supported by Roach. Overall, though, the West Indian bowling is not too special. Keemo Paul, who played the last match instead of Roach, is average. Rovman Powell and Craig Braithwaite are mediocre at best. The spinners are also very limited in their skills and can be negotiated without too much trouble.
For the West Indian bowling to have a great day, they either need a lot of assistance from the pitch, mistakes from the opposition, or a huge score at their back.
The West Indies has played well against the lower ranked associated up until now but Afghanistan showed that they can be beaten. This match against Zimbabwe will give us a clear idea of where West Indies stands in this tournament.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
Some rain has been forecast for Harare in the morning but should ease up later in the day. Some afternoon showers will once again play spoilsport and could lead to multiple stoppages. Harare has been one of the grounds where the batting has been relatively easier than on some of the other venues. Zimbabwe will ensure that their spinners get some help from the pitch. A score of around 250 could be a winning total in West Indies vs Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and the West Indies participated in a tri-series just before the qualifiers. Zimbabwe won the last match and tied the one before that against the West Indies. With home support, a batting order that is come together nicely, and some spinners that can trouble the West Indies, we are backing the home team to win this contest.
Back Zimbabwe to win.