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Zimbabwe Clash With Sri Lanka in World Cup Opener

Brendan Taylor
The Zimbabwe national cricket team opens Tuesday the 20-20 World Cup against hosts Sri Lanka and captain Brendan Taylor says Zimbabweans are out to beat their tough opponents.

Taylor is boasting that the lowly-ranked Zimbabweans are not at the 12-team World Cup to make up for the numbers but to win their games as his team is ready to spring up some surprises.

Zimbabwe are in one of the toughest groups of the tournament which apart from hosts Sri Lanka also includes the world’s second ranked 20-20 World Cup hard hitters, South Africa.

They open their campaign against Sri Lanka before rounding off their group matches Thursday against South Africa. “We are ready for the big stage,” said Taylor.

The top two teams from each of the four groups qualify for the super eight stage which is commonly known as the quarter finals.

But basing on their warm up performance, some observes believe Zimbabwe do not have the overall strength and team spirit to reach the super eight having lost both their warm up matches to qualifiers Ireland and lowly-rated Bangladesh.

Other critics say Zimbabwe were in the same position at the 1999 International Cricket World Cup in England where they were dismissed as no hopers but against all odds came out fifth.

The critics argue that Zimbabwe could even have reached the semi-finals but only missed out due to an inferior net run-rate to New Zealand who went on to lose to Pakistan by nine wickets.
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Meanwhile, Highlanders Football Club carry the southern region’s hopes for glory in the lucrative Mbada Diamonds Cup after the elimination of Hwange, Chicken inn and Quelaton in first round matches at the weekend.

In the quarter finals, Highlanders take on Monomotapa, Dynamos will clash with Gunners while Shabanie Mine face FC Platinum in a local derby and Caps United versus Bufalloes.

The $1 million tournament ends November 24. Teams eliminated in the first round got $10,000 while those that will be knocked out in the second round are expected to recieve $20,000.

The losing semi-finalists are set to take home $30,000 and runners-up $60,000. The winner will pocket a cool $100,000