Zimbabwe Cricket World Cup preps

DHAKA: Bangladesh's Rubel Hossain, center without cap, celebrates with teammates the dismissal of Zimbabwe's Tendai Chatara during the first match of their Tri-Nation one-day international cricket series in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. AP/PTI(AP1_15_2018_000089A)

THE Zimbabwe senior men’s cricket national team, the Chevrons, continue to pose more headaches for selectors as the team’s preparations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup have shown glaring shortcomings that have been a prominent feature in the past two years.
Zimbabwe cricket team are currently playing in the Tri-Nation Series in Bangladesh where they lost the opening match to hosts by eight wickets.
The Chevrons’ dismal performance in Bangladesh has cast doubts on whether the team will secure a berth at the global event.
West Indies, Zimbabwe and the hosts (Bangladesh) are playing the limited overs Tri-Nations Cricket Series.
The Chevrons are using the tournament to help gauge their progress ahead of the World Cup slated for the UK next year.
Zimbabwe will host 10 nations in the World Cup qualifiers set for March with Harare, Bulawayo and Kwekwe hosting the qualifiers.
Bangladesh’s recent outstanding performance earned them an automatic qualification to the World Cup.
Top eight ranked teams, as of September 30 2017, on the international rankings secured an automatic qualification at the World Cup with the remaining two having to go through qualifiers.
Zimbabwe’s poor form in the One Day International cricket series has seen them falling further behind in the rankings.
This has resulted in the Chevrons playing in the qualifiers.
Zimbabwe have qualified for the World Cup bonanza three times; in 1982, 1986 and 1990.
West Indies will be the star attraction in the Bangladesh Series as the top cricket-playing nation failed to earn an automatic qualification to the World Cup. Bangladesh’s form saw them rising up the ladder with Windies going down the pecking order.
West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and the hosts are the confirmed countries to play in the qualifiers while the remaining two will be confirmed mid-February.
Namibia will host the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Division 2 where Canada, Kenya, Nepal, Oman and United Arab Emirates fight for the two slots for the qualifiers.
Zimbabweans will host 34 matches of the gentleman’s game between March 4 and 25.
West Indies, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and winners of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia make up Group A, while Afghanistan, the hosts, Scotland, Hong Kong and runners-up of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 form Group B.
Each side will play the other teams in their group once with the top three from the groups progressing to the Super Six stage.
The teams each play three Super Six matches against the sides they did not meet in the group stage.
All points won in the groups will be carried over to the Super Six stage apart from those gained against the bottom two from each group.
The finalists will both progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, while the Netherlands (ICC World Cricket League Championship winners) and the three highest finishing Associate Members will earn ODI status till 2022 upon the conclusion of the event.
As such, only matches between Afghanistan, Ireland, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, West Indies, Zimbabwe and potentially the United Arab Emirates (if they qualify) will have ODI status in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018.
Hosts Zimbabwe will feature on the opening day of the tournament on March 4 when they will take on the runners-up from the Namibia tournament at the Queen’s Sports Club, Bulawayo, while the Windies will square-off against the winners of the Namibia tournament on March 6 at Old Hararians Cricket Club in Harare.
Scotland will defend the title they won at Bert Sutcliffe, Lincoln, New Zealand, in February 2014, when they defeated the United Arab Emirates by 41 runs.
The Netherlands and Papua New Guinea are the only sides who have featured in all tournaments since its inception in 1979.
The tournament is credited for producing raw talent and unheralded players over the years.
Zimbabwe will need to shrug-off their bogey side Afghanistan as they seek to make another appearance in England and Wales.
Afghanistan have been Zimbabwe’s Achilles heel while Scotland have potential to dent Zimbabwe’s chances of progressing to the next stage of the competition.
The Chevrons’ show in Bangladesh leaves more pundits doubting Zimbabwe can make it to the finals of the qualifiers they are hosting.
To qualify for the World Cup, Zimbabwe need to reach the finals.
The ducks made by batsmen in the opening game against Bangladesh is worrisome while there was terrible bowling.
The only meaningful runs were by Sikanda Raza Butt and Peter Moor who posted 52 and 33 respectively.
The duo of Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza contributed 24 and 15 respectively while Solomon Mire and Craig Ervine were dismissed for ducks.
The bowlers, on the other hand, struggled with their lines and lengths in the chase as a set target of 170 need only four wickets to deliver.
The qualifiers is one of the high profile tournaments hosted by Zimbabwe in recent times.
In 2004, Zimbabwe co-hosted the World Cup with South Africa.
Group A: West Indies (A1); Ireland (A2); the Netherlands (A3); Papua New Guinea (A4); ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL Div.2) winner (A5)
Group B: Afghanistan (B1); Zimbabwe (B2); Scotland (B3); Hong Kong (B4); ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL Div.2) runners-up (B5)


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