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Zimbabwe's Chevrons Clash With Proteas in Crucial Cricket Match

FILE: Zimbabwean cricketer Sikandar Raza, left, bats, as Bangladesh’s captain Mushfiqur Rahim cups his hands to catch the ball during the first day of the first cricket test match in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

Zimbabwe’s Chevrons face the mighty Proteas of South Africa in their opening 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup game in Hamilton Sunday.

The first game is always the talking point of any team in a World Cup tournament.

As a result, Zimbabwe’s Chevrons will be hard pressed for a good show when they trot onto the Seddock Park Stadium in Hamilton Sunday for their showdown with neighbors the Proteas of South Africa in their opening World Cup match.

The Chevrons’ performance in this game will be enough to judge whether the team has the overall strength and team spirit to go further in a competition that pits 14 of the best cricket playing teams from around the globe.

The star of the Zimbabwean show, Hamilton Masakadza, is straight to the point saying the game against their neighbors is crucial as it would either boost morale and confidence or could destroy their ambitions.

Masakadza, however, believes that in a World Cup tournament anything can happen. He says the South Africans can be beaten as the Zimbabweans are currently in peak form.

Masakadza, who missed the 2007 World Cup through injury and was dropped for the 2011 tournament due to poor form, is in sparkling form. He thinks Zimbabwe is ready to rock and roll.

The two teams last met in Zimbabwe during the Triangular Series that with Australia where Zimbabwe lost both matches, the first by 63 runs, and the second, by 61 runs.

They are also coming-up against a fired up South African side that boasts some of the world’s best players in the form of Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, and JP Duminy.

Despite the Proteas threat, the Zimbabweans have set themselves the target of reaching the Super Eight stage and captain Elton Chigumbura thinks that is within their reach.

Apart from South Africa, the Zimbabweans are in the same group with defending champions India, the West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates.

Four teams from the group qualify for the Super Eight stage.

Coach Dave Whatmore says he is aware of what they need to do to reach that Super Eight stage.

Their win over Sri Lanka in the warm-up matches has helped to raise spirits in the camp. But normally, such matches are deceiving.

However, Masakadza says their preparations have been spot on.

The Zimbabweans, however, will have to first improve on their batting, which has seen most of their players, apart from Masakadza, Sean Williams, and Brendon Taylor, failing to reach figures of over 20 runs.

Whatever the result against South Africa will be, Zimbabwean sports fans are hoping that their team will put up a better show than what the players did in their tour of Bangladesh in October last year.

After South Africa, Zimbabwe’s will face the United Arab Emirates on Thursday at the Saxton Park in Oval.