By Wisden India staff in Sylhet
Refusing to use rustiness as an excuse after losing to Ireland, Zimbabwe captain asks batsmen to put a higher price on their wickets
Several of the top order got off to starts but didn’t kick on, with the result that Zimbabwe fell some 15-20 runs short of a total – it scored 163 for 5 – that would have put the match beyond the reach of the Irish.
“They are all experienced players, they have played enough cricket,” said Taylor. “It has to come from within themselves. They need to put a high price on their wickets and have to step up. There is no point leaving it for the next man coming in because he takes five to six balls to get going, so the game stops-starts. I am pretty sure that they know what they need to do to improve.”
Asked if his batsmen had set their sights too high, Taylor said, “We don’t really set targets. We think that if one of the top four bats through, then we will have a competitive total. I think the batters were a bit soft with their dismissals and mentally need to toughen up a little bit. If you get yourself in, you need to kick in or else you are making it difficult for the team.”
The toss, Taylor said, had played an important role. “To be honest, it was (crucial),” he said. “It was a bit slower for the spinners this afternoon. It got a bit greasier under lights. But the ball started swinging for us and we found we were in the game. So it could have worked for us. But with the batters, guys getting out for 15-20, it is always going to be tough to rebuild with the new batter coming in. That’s where we were 20 runs short.”
Zimbabwe hasn’t played too much cricket in recent times but Taylor refused to use rustiness as an excuse for their patchy batting. “We are professional cricketers. Guys back home have been putting in a lot of hard work as individuals. And for five to six weeks before the tournament, we have been training together,” he pointed out. “Rustiness in match time, maybe, but mentally we have played a lot of cricket to put in good performances. It is no excuse for lack of match time. We were beaten by a slightly better team on the day.”
With Ireland on course for a massive win, Zimbabwe took the game to the last ball, thanks to Tinashe Panyangara. Taylor said at some stage during the final over, he had even entertained visions of a tie. “I had a good feeling that it was going to be a Super Over. But not to be,” he said. “Unfortunately, I missed the wickets (in looking for the run out off the last ball that would have tied the game). Panyangara came back strong and made it difficult for them to get over the line. I think some good performances came from some of the Irish players that took the game away from us and their match-winners did come to the party today.”