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Windies ‘up for it’


Windies ‘up for it’

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HARARE – Favourites West Indies are bracing for a spin assault from hosts Zimbabwe in today’s all-important Super Sixes clash of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers.

Much will be riding on the contest at Harare Sports Club, as the winners will take a giant step towards the final and clinching one of the two remaining spots at next year’s World Cup in England.

Zimbabwe’s spinners have played a key role in the hosts’ unbeaten run in the tournament, and veteran Windies seamer Kemar Roach said yesterday they were aware of what to expect.

“Spin will definitely be a factor in the match. The wickets are under wear and tear now, so it’s going to be tough for us to put a big score on the board.

“But runs on the board is the name of the game and, obviously, as a bowling attack, we have to put pressure on the Zimbabwe batsmen and we’ll be fine,” he said.

In conditions which will favour the hosts, the Windies will have to deal with left-arm spinners Tendai Chisoro and Sean Williams, leg-spinner Graeme Cremer and off-spinner Sikander Raza.

The match took on even more significance after West Indies were upset by Afghanistan in their opening match of the Super Sixes last Thursday at Harare Sports Club.

Though the defeat was their first of the tournament after they finished the preliminary round unbeaten, it saw West Indies slip to third in the table.

Zimbabwe lead the standings with five points, ahead of Scotland on net run rate, with the Windies on four.

Roach, who missed the Afghanistan defeat through injury but will face Zimbabwe, said the squad understood the importance of the encounter and were up for it.

“It’s a big match for us, obviously, and I’m looking forward to it. I missed that last one due to injury, but I’m feeling much better now. I put the work in at practice and I’m ready and raring to go,” he said.

“There’s definitely a lot to play for. Playing Zimbabwe in their home town is going to be tough, so the guys are mentally prepared and physically prepared for this game. It’s going to be a tough one but I believe we will come out on top as we should.”

He added: “The guys are obviously very focused. This is like the biggest career match for most of these guys, so to win this match and win the other one [against Scotland] and go to the World Cup is obviously the pinnacle.

“The camp is good – everyone is focused, everyone is happy – and we’re just going to go out there and play the best cricket we can.” (CMC)