Ryan Burl is confident Zimbabwe’s historic One-Day International win over Australia will propel them to make an impact at this year’s T20 World Cup.
Having lost the first two games of the away ODI series, Zimbabwe registered only their third victory over Australia in 33 attempts spanning nearly four decades.
Coming after triumphs over Bangladesh in both white-ball formats, the Townsville success earlier this month should send the Southern Africans off to next month’s T20 World Cup charged with confidence.
“The last four months have been extremely successful and positive for us as a Zimbabwe cricket unit,” Burl told the BBC World Service’s Stumped podcast.
“Obviously winning the World Cup qualifiers, the two series wins against Bangladesh – the T20s and the ODIs, coming ‘Down Under’ and getting the one victory, we’re very positive and in a good headspace.
“David Houghton has just come on board [as coach] and Lance Klusener has been a new addition. Things are in the right direction and we are reciprocating that with some positive results as well. We are on the way forward.”
Leg-spinner Burl picked up the man of the match award in the final ODI for his haul of 5-10, which helped Zimbabwe to a three-wicket win and their first ever ODI victory in Australia.
The Chevrons, meanwhile, had made it to the T20 World Cup by reaching the final of a qualifying event on home soil in July.
They have never made it out of the group stage in five previous appearances at the tournament, and will take on Ireland, West Indies and Scotland in the opening round in Australia, with the action getting under way from 17 October.
“We don’t really like to focus too much on individual goals and standards and stuff like that, but it’s a really great opportunity for us to showcase our skills,” Burl, 28, said.
“[We will] go out there trying to hopefully do something spectacular.
“We do have the first group of qualification going on so we need to get through that first phase and ensure that we get into the Super 12 and then take it each game as it comes.”
Zimbabwe’s new game plan is a far cry from the uninspiring brand of cricket which resulted in a T20 world ranking of 11th after losses to Scotland, Ireland, Namibia and Afghanistan through 2021 and 2022, and an even worse ODI ranking of 13th.
Younger players stepped to the fore in Australia, with opener Tadiwanashe Marumani and fast bowler Richard Ngarava impressing alongside Burl, easing the previous reliance on players like Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine.
The arrival of a new coach in Houghton, a former Zimbabwe captain, in June has changed the squad’s mentality and attitude according to current skipper Regis Chakabva.
“His big focus was changing the way that we play,” said Chakabva, whose unbeaten 37 guided his team to their ODI success in Australia.
“We’ve been looking to play a lot more positively, a lot more aggressive. That’s the only way we’re going to be competing against Australia and these other big teams.
“If we’re looking to rise up the rankings, we can’t keep on playing the same way that we’ve been playing.”