Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter 

ZIMBABWE limited overs captain, Chamunorwa Chibhabha is looking to get his side’s campaign for a place at the next International Council Cricket World Cup off to a good start as they face Pakistan in three One-Day International (ODI) matches in Rawalpindi.

The first fixture taking place on 30 October, with the other two matches set for 1 and 3 November. All three ODIs will be day-night affairs.

The series is part of the inaugural Super League that will serve as the main route for qualification for the 2023 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup in India.

The 13-team league competition will see the top seven sides, plus India, qualifying directly for the World Cup, while the remaining five teams, along with five Associate sides, will play in a qualifier tournament from where two teams will go through to the global showcase.

Speaking during Zimbabwe’s second day of training at the Army Cricket Ground in Rawalpindi on Thursday, Chibhabha stressed his side’s yearning to do well in the Super League.

“It’s very crucial for us to play really well. Super League games are very important when you consider the fact that we have to qualify for the World Cup,’’ Chibhabha said.

Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup played in England. They could secure qualification through the direct route and then flopped when in the qualifier played in their own country as a shock defeat to the United Arab Emirates, a match they were largely expected to win saw them miss out on a ticket to England.

“We would rather qualify directly as opposed to having to play in the qualifiers because that’s a lot of pressure. So we would love to get a couple of wins under our belt, which makes life easier for us to qualify for the World Cup,” said Chibhabha said.

Chibhabha, who is one of the six Zimbabwe players in the current squad who toured Pakistan in 2015, said they were still trying to get used to the local conditions but he is expecting high-scoring encounters.
“From our experience in 2015, we know we are going to play on a flat wicket – some might have a bit of spin on them, slow and turning, but we are expecting a lot of runs on the board in this series,” the captain said.

He is expects dew to play a massive factor in the since the matches will be day/night contests.

“Obviously, it’s going to be hot but it’s not as bad as we expected. We will also be playing day-night matches, so dew is going to play a huge factor.”

After the ODI series, Pakistan and Zimbabwe will clash in three Twenty20 international matches scheduled for 7, 8 and 10 November in Lahore.

Zimbabwe Squad for Pakistan tour: Chamunorwa Chibhabha (captain), Faraz Akram, Ryan Burl, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Carl Mumba, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams