The series gives Zimbabwe a rare opportunity to hone their T20 skills ahead of the World Cup, and they have made it clear that they will be taking the Triangular tournament very seriously. Brendan Taylor will captain the side, and the usual suspects of Masakadza, Utseya, Chigumbura and Taibu are all included. There are also some new faces on the block, with Kevin Kasuza, Richard Muzhange and Tendai Chatara all getting opportunities to show what they are made of on the "international" stage. Vusi Sibanda is also recalled after a small spat with ZC regarding his availability when he chose to play club cricket in Australia instead of represent his country.
And so we save the best for last. The Proteas have rested their top guys here, and for good reason of course. Usual T20 captain AB de Villiers, Kallis, Steyn and Morkel will all miss out on the Triangular series, resting their wary IPL bones ahead of the English tour. Faf Du Plessis has been included in the T20 set-up for the first time after an impressive showing in the IPL and Chris Morris gets his maiden call up to the national team. Ferhaan Berhardien and Dane Vilas will retain their places from the T20 team that faced India at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Johan Botha was due to captain the side, but a knee injury has prevented him from taking any part in the tournament and Hashim Amla will lead the side in his absence.
All the matches for the tournament will be played at Harare Sports Club, in Zimbabwe's capital. Home of Zimbabwe's cricket board, it is a picturesque ground but one with a small capacity. With the presidential palace on one side and the Royal Harare Gold Club on the other, it is right in the centre of the city. Usually a great track for batting, expect some good totals on show here. Fairly warm days and sunny conditions are expected for the entire tournament, so hopefully rain shouldn't have a part to play in this tournament.
|Hamilton treads his own path in the T20 game. |
He practically makes it up as he goes along.
The Bangladeshis receive a days break before they face the South Africans. Even with a second-string team, the South Africans should win this comfortably. Without Shakib the Bangladesh team is without the world's number one ranked all-rounder in all forms of the game. He asked to be rested, and it was obvious he needed it. He has played in the last 70 ODI's, 15 Tests and 8 T20's since 2009, never mind his stint in the IPL and BPL. Without Shakib I expect Bangladesh to lack stability, and South Africa to crawl all over them. Also, the wickets in Zimbabwe are a stone's throw from the wickets in South Africa, so the Proteas will have the advantage there. Call them on the outright and I fancy FAF Du Plessis to come into his own at the top of the order with good IPL experience and form, jump on him as South Africa's top scorer.
Well my hunches have proved correct on more occasions than one, but cricket is as the cliché states, a funny game. I don't expect this tournament to be quite as straight-forward as it seems, though the South Africans do seem too strong for the minnows. The Bangladeshis, after the way they impressed in the Asia Cup, should have the jump on the Zimbabweans, but I have my doubts. But as is the way with sports betting and writing, it all remains to be seen.
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