Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine is expecting a backlash from a wounded Pakistan side when the two sides clash in a crucial T20 World Cup Super 12 encounter in Perth, Australia on Thursday.
Pakistan succumbed to a dramatic loss to India in their opening Super 12 encounter at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday while Zimbabwe were fortunate to come out of their match against South Africa with a point after rain led to the abandonment of their match in Hobart on Monday.
Speaking ahead of the match at the Perth Stadium, the Zimbabwe captain admitted that Pakistan’s star-studded bowling attack is likely to come firing but he is confident that his teammate will be up to the task.
“I’m pretty sure that Pakistan will be coming hard at us tomorrow. They’ve got some quality bowlers with the new ball. So, that will be a big challenge for us,” Ervine said.
“Looking at quite a few games that have been played, that first five to six overs with the new ball are challenging for every team. I think it’s a key area for us to try getting through with the bat tomorrow and capitalise on a lot of doubles with bigger boundaries in those middle overs,” the Zimbabwean captain added.
Responding to a question regarding the pitch at the Perth Stadium, Ervine highlighted that the wicket will be a bit quicker than it was in Hobart.
“We’ll obviously have to try assessing those conditions and work out how best to get a decent score on the board,” the skipper said.
“I don’t think that you can sit back and let quality bowlers like that bowl at you; Otherwise, it’s only going to be a matter of time before they get you out. I think it will be a case of trying to rotate and making sure that you’re putting them under as much pressure as they’re putting you under,” he said while referring to Pakistani bowler Haris Rauf.
Ervine also praised his teammate Sikandar Raza who has been in superb form recently saying that the in-form batter is an inspiration for many back home.
“He’s been such an inspiration for many people over the last few months with his performances. And we know that a lot of Zimbabwe’s success obviously lies in his success as an individual and the team. So obviously they’re hoping that he can continue that good form throughout the rest of the tournament,” he remarked while praising his teammate.
Fast bowler Richard Ngarava is in doubt with an ankle injury sustained after he slipped amid inclement conditions in Hobart.
“He’s (Ngarava) doing alright….we’ve got a training session and we’ll see how he warms up. There’s quite a lot of time to recover, hopefully, it’s not too serious,” said Ervine, who tipped quick Brad Evans as a likely replacement if Ngarava is ruled out.