One step forward… Zimbabwe seek to press advantage against Sri Lanka
Zimbabwe go into their third match of the Rocket TriNation Series on Sunday knowing a win over Sri Lanka will land them a spot in the final on the 27th of January.
The nervy 12 run victory against the South Asia side was impressive for the reason that they were able to bowl the Sri Lankans out having posted a competitive total.
The major positives picked from the second match after the debacle of the first match against Bangladesh will have to be built on, improved and consolidated if Zimbabwe are to believe their preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier they host in March have started in earnest.
A reversal will mean one step forward and a few steps back.
A big spark from the second match was the returning influence of Sikandar Raza who was involved with bat, ball and in the field. Zimbabwe will need him with his tail up and biting at the bits to as he is primed for March. A win in a tie like this one will prove that Zimbabwe are closer to the best of the rest of the Full Member sides than the rankings suggest.
The two pace talents of Tendai Chatara and the interesting Blessing Muzarabani will be asked to come to the party again and deliver on the faith shown in them by the selectors, particularly the latter who was perhaps because of nerves was all over the place against Bangladesh.
Muzarabani showed he had that little bit of something, the kind of thing Zimbabwe has lacked in a pace bowler, with deliveries often unplayable when they hit the mark.
As for Chatara, he was a proper strike bowler, the kind that made him dangerous before he broke his leg having a kickabout a few years ago.
That said, while there was a big score, it was mainly down to the efforts of Hamilton Masakadza and Raza who contributed more than half the runs with positions 3 to 5 struggling. Former captain Brendan Taylor did have moments but like many in the team who had starts, lost his wicket when there was no pressure.
Also key for Zimbabwe is picking up a century from one of their batsmen, to show they can hold their nerve and push past the post.
We expect the coach to persist with the team that did the job on Wednesday unless there are injury worries.
For Sri Lanka, it is do or die in this encounter after they were bowled out for 157 by Bangladesh chasing an mammoth 321.
The Lions are in all sorts of triuble and will know that if they can get in early on the Chevrons they can knock their confidence and pick up a morale-boosting win.
The match is at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka. First ball is at 08.00hrs (CAT). The match is on SuperSport for African audiences.