By Wisden India staff in Sylhet
Zimbabwe captain says keeping wickets in hand proved crucial in last-ball triumph against the Netherlands
“We shouldn’t have finished in the last over if we had fielded properly,” said Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe captain who was also named the Man of the Match for his well-crafted 49. “We leaked 15-20 runs and we should have restricted them to 120. Tom Cooper obviously played really nicely. But we were really sloppy and we made it a lot more difficult for us than it should have been. Tomorrow, we need to regroup, have a good fielding session and come back on Friday and try and get all three departments right. If we do that, we are going to be tough to beat.”
Chasing 141 for victory, Zimbabwe was well served by a second-wicket stand of 62 from 54 deliveries between Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza, though at various stages, the batsmen seemed to have left themselves with too much to do. “Definitely, what we felt was wickets in hand was the key,” explained Taylor. “Chasing 140, quick outfield, pretty decent wicket to bat on -- if you got wickets in hand, you can always chase 10, 12, 13 runs an over at the end. That was the key to why we got over the line. Hopefully, we can continue that form at the top of the order and it should put us in good stead.
“We needed that win, it is a relief, absolutely,” Taylor laughed nervously. “We made it very difficult for ourselves but at the end of the day, it is a win, we will take that. I feel much better tonight that the team got over the line. That is the most important thing. There’s a lot of positives we can take out of this game but there is also a lot of areas where we need to improve on.”
Zimbabwe rejigged its batting order, sending Elton Chigumbura in at No. 4 and holding Vusi Sibanda back till No. 6. Chigumbura was dismissed for a second-ball duck but Sibanda held his nerve when one was needed off the last delivery, depositing Ahsan Mailk over long-on for an effortless six. “Vusi has been playing for 10 years, he is a very talented player,” said Taylor. “Obviously it is not his familiar position, it is not a position that he is used to. It’s something new to him but we always had faith in him and when the field’s up, it does make it a little bit easier. But credit to the Dutch, they fought really hard. They made it difficult for us.”
The match was played on a pitch adjacent to the one that hosted Monday’s games, and compared to that surface, this played more consistently throughout the game. “It was a good batting wicket,” said Taylor. “If you bowl well, it is tough to score like any wicket. But if you miss your areas, bowlers tend to find it very difficult. But generally, it has played really well. Generally in Bangladesh, you expect it to spin a little bit more but it hasn’t done that. You can’t ask for more as a batter than these wickets.”