The Zimbabwe cricket team will take the field at the Harare Sports Club to face Team India in the first of three ODIs. After the two sides played each other in a 50-over format six years ago, they lost 3-0 to the Blues in the second round of 2015. In the last few years, the African team has defeated the much-loved rivals in 2010 and beat them twice in the triangular series. At this point, the overall score is still heavily skewed in favor of India, who have won 51 ODIs and lost 10 to Zimbabwe.
But despite the odds stacked against him in the Asian part of the world, point guard Ryan Berle remains optimistic about his team’s chances against the Asian side. Most of the positives stem precisely from Zimbabwe’s recent success against Bangladesh. Zimbabwe are the lowest ranked side in both formats of the white-ball game, and they managed a 2-1 victory in both ODIs and T20Is. Their success in the longer format was due to two consecutive unbeaten milestones by formidable opener Sikander Raza, who was also the best wicketkeeper in the series.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t win. We do have a home advantage. We’ve been playing quite well at home recently. People obviously talk about the likes of Streaky (Heath Streak) and the Flowers (Andy Flower and Grant Flower) and all those guys back then. Now we’ve got our own legends. We’ve got Raza, we’ve got (Craig) Ervine, we’ve got (Sean) Williams. We’ve got all these other legends. There’s probably something wrong with me if I didn’t think that we could win because every time you step on a field or court or whatever competition it is, you’re looking to win. So, we’re looking (at the series) very positively and hopefully, we can do something special,” he said in an exclusive interview with Times of India.
During the last visit to Zimbabwe, the top six team was invited to host the 2018 ODIs. The team failed to succeed and suffered a 5-0 defeat. Berle believes they can do better this time and prove themselves in the global cricketing community.
“First of all, we don’t really get a chance to play India often. So, when you do get these opportunities, you have to kind of put your hand up and make the most of it. And second of all, it’s opportunities like this (of playing) one of the best teams in the world, where you can showcase your talent and put yourself out there on the map for bigger and better things to come. It’s hugely important for us.”
Zimbabwe can look forward to a free game as India are expecting an easy win as they have in the last 13 ODI meetings between the two sides.
“The team plans are going to be pretty much the same as (those of) the last couple of months. We’re going to express ourselves as much as possible. If you’re a batter, your plan is to score as many runs as possible as quickly as possible. And if you are a bowler, your plan is to go for as few runs as possible. We will try to keep things as simple as possible,” the 28-year-old added.
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