Melbourne – What started as a spirited entry into the Super 12 stage, ended in a disappointing finish for Zimbabwe, admitted skipper Craig Ervine but he also spoke about the positive takeaways for the team after they finished at the bottom of Group 2.
A comprehensive 71-run victory for India against Zimbabwe ended the group stage leg of the 2022 T20 WC, with the latter ending the tournament with three successive losses. But the victory against Pakistan earlier in the competition was their biggest positive and Ervine hoped that would give Zimbabwe the strength to build towards the future.
“Look, it has been a little bit disappointing to obviously finish with three losses, but we mustn’t forget the excellent work that we did during those qualifiers to get us into the Super 12s, and obviously beating Pakistan, as well. So there’s a lot to take from this World Cup and build on that going forward,” said Ervine at the post-match press conference on Sunday (November 6).
“You know, that win against Pakistan has tremendous value. I think those are the sort of memories that you do take away from a tournament like this. It’s definitely something that will live on in Zimbabwe cricket. But like I’ve said before, we want to get more and more victories like that and try and be a little bit more consistent,” he added.
With 219 runs and 10 wickets, Sikandar Raza was the star performer for Zimbabwe as he extended his rich vein of form. While acknowledging his contributions, Ervine also stressed on the need for the other players to get up to speed with the demands of international cricket.
“Look, Sikandar has been awesome for us, and I think Zimbabwe cricket is at that stage where we are trying to get some development going and trying to bring other players through. Obviously, it does take a lot of time, and I think everybody understands that. It’s an important few years for Zimbabwe cricket going forward,” Ervine said.
Dave Houghton, Zimbabwe’s head coach, also praised the team for their overall good showing in the World Cup while hoping that the players would have picked up valuable lessons playing against big teams such as India.
“I’m pretty proud of the way the guys have played throughout the campaign. Never hidden from the fact that there’s quite a big gulf between us and some of the big sides in the world. We had a good lesson given to us today by India and I really hope our guys paid attention and can come up with a couple of things they’ve learnt from today’s game,” Houghton said.
“We came into every game in the Super 12 with the hope that if we played our best game we have the chance of winning against everybody. We are realistic, we know what we’re playing against, but at the same time we’ve got to come in and hope that we can win.”
Having picked up a point after their first Super 12 game against South Africa yielded no result, Zimbabwe pulled off the giant-killing act with a thrilling one-run victory against Pakistan.
But a narrow three-run loss against Bangladesh started their slide, which eventually meant that Zimbabwe will have to come through the first stage again in the next World Cup.
“I think it’s been a good campaign. If we had just got across the line against Bangladesh, we would have finished in the top eight and wouldn’t have to qualify for the next one.
Sadly, that didn’t happen and we will have to qualify again but a lot of positives have come out of it for us,” said the coach.