After a record 335-run win in the first Test in Harare, Zimbabwe have seemed to be on a downward slide of increasing rapidity. They fought in the second Test, also in Harare, but lost by 143 runs before coming to Bangladesh’s stronghold of Bulawayo and being blown out of the water by 121 runs in the first of three ODIs on Friday.
Matches against Bangladesh assume special importance because there is a general expectation from the man on the street that the home team can win. So after the capitulation in the first game vice-captain Hamilton Masakadza was eager to arrest the slide when they take on Bangladesh in the second ODI at the Queens Sports Club today.
“I think we just had a bad start in Bulawayo,” said Masakadza who came back to form with a hundred in the second Test and also played well to get 38 in the opening ODI.
“We could not fight the way we were supposed to. I think 260 was a par score on this wicket. The wicket here is batting friendly but we just did not bat well enough to chase it down.”
After the first game captain Brendan Taylor lambasted the team for not learning from past mistakes and continuing to play across the line to straight deliveries. It must also have pained him that after his departure with score on 78 for three, the side folded like a house of cards, renewing talk of over-dependence on the captain and vice-captain.
“No, I don’t really think so,” said Masakdza when asked about the issue. “There are guys in the middle order who are also scoring runs and they did it in West Indies. So I think it’s not relied on a few people. The whole thing is a team effort and I think as a team we just didn’t come right yesterday.
“The mistake was we kept playing across the line to Zia and give him five wickets. This is a simple mistake I think but this broke the back of the batting. So the guys had talked and thought about it. We had some time in the nets today so I think it will be fine tomorrow.”
Bangladesh won their seventh game in nine tries at Bulawayo on Friday but Masakadza did not think the ground was a factor when playing the tourists. “I think they (Bangladesh) had a few good games here where we haven’t played so well. We don’t really think there is a jinx here. We chased 300 runs against New Zealand in a one-day game.
“It has only been one game in the series and we still have two more games to go. I believe we are capable of bouncing back and we are looking forward to the game tomorrow.”