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Battle Of The Minnows Set To Excite


Rarely does Zimbabwe start as favourites, but the African team find themselves in a prized position as they prepare to battle with lowly Canada in Group A.

This will likely be an entertaining clash between two teams with everything to prove.

For Canada, no one expected them to perform a miracle against Sri Lanka, but some resistance against one of the tournament favourites would have given them confidence for the remainder of their campaign.

That resistance was clearly lacking in their 210-run thrashing in Hambantota.

For Zimbabwe, this is a golden opportunity to log full points after a 91-run defeat in their opening match against defending champions Australia in Ahmedabad. At the same time, a loss to this Canadian contingent would be a tremendous loss of face for a side trying to make a return to Test Cricket.

There were bright signs for Zimbabwe in their opening game against Australia. Spin is their strength with the trio of Ray Price, Graeme Cremer and Prosper Utseya restraining the batsmen well.

There is also a significant amount of experience in the top and middle orders for the African team.

Canada (probable): 1 John Davison, 2 and 3 Nitish Kumar and Ruvindu Gunasekara, 4 Zubin Surkari, 5 Ashish Bagai (capt and wk), 6 Rizwan Cheema, 7 Tyson Gordon, 8 Khurram Chohan, 9 Harvir Baidwan, 10 WD Balaji Rao, 11 Henry Osinde/Parth Desai.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Brendan Taylor, 2 Charles Coventry, 3 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 4 Craig Ervine, 5 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 6 Sean Williams, 7 Regis Chakabva, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Graeme Cremer, 10 Ray Price, 11 Chris Mpofu.

The game at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium is only the second clash between these two sides, and their maiden battle in a World Cup.

Zimbabwe has previously coasted to a 143-run win in 2006, in the neutral venue of Port of Spain, by bundling out Canada for a miserly 85. “There are a couple of guys who have played against Canada and they know them better than I do,” skipper Elton Chigumbura said earlier in the week.

The performance of the top order remains the worry for both teams, and they've got the pitch they need to recover. The track is expected to favour the batsmen.

Zimbabwe will look to Charles Coventry to do the damage here.

After his swashbuckling, and then record-equalling 194 against Bangladesh, Coventry has not ridden the momentum of that innings to other opponents. He is an attacking batsman and will surely use this opportunity against a mediocre bowling attack to register a big score.

For Canada- cast your eye to national captain Ashish Bagai. He's been in good form of late, with six half-centuries in 2010.

The Zimbabweans have several seasoned campaigners including opener Brendan Taylor and wicket keeper batsman Tatenda Taibu, alongside middle order bat Chigumbura and spinners Prosper Utseya and Ray Price.

The Zimbabwean management would be heavily banking on their experience to put it across the Canadians.

Chigumbura has stated that his side would bat first if he won the toss, and would have an attack loaded with spinners.

Interesting Statistic: Only three out of Canada's 15 players in this World Cup were born in Canada


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