Zimbabwe’s national cricket sides have been poised for lots of on field action in early 2021, though due to COVID-19, some international series have been postponed. Zimbabwe women’s cricket team series against Pakistan is a silver lining, starting today in Harare.
Women’s series against Pakistan going ahead
Following the postponement of the Zimbabwean women’s series against Namibia, Zimbabwe’s women’s cricket team have taken the field in a historic series against Pakistan – the first time that Pakistan’s women’s team will have played in Zimbabwe. The matches will form an important part of both teams’ preparations for Women’s World Cup Qualifier in June/July 2021, and potentially the World Cup scheduled for early 2022 in New Zealand.
With fans from across the world being able to tune into the three ODI matches and T20 matches thanks to a live stream on YouTube, many will gain extensive and exciting insights into the development of these two sides, and women’s cricket in general.
Following their tour to South Africa, the Pakistan women’s cricket team played fantastic cricket while also gaining valuable match practice in recent times. During their time in South Africa, the team competed in three ODI matches and three T20I matches, losing 3-0 and 2-1 respectively. There were plenty of positives during the tour including Diana Baig finishing as the top wicket-taker in the ODIs with nine wickets, Kainat Imtiaz finishing as the second top run-scorer in the T20Is and several players who had performed well during the ICC Women’s Cricket Championship, maintaining their form.
For the hosts, the series marks the return of international cricket back to Zimbabwe in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the start of the series, Zimbabwe Cricket announced the 15 player squad and whilst there is plenty of talent on show, there are four notable absentees. Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano, Nomatter Mutasa, Anesu Mushangwe and Sharne Mayers are all currently unavailable for international selection.
Zimbabwe Squad: Mary-Anne Musonda, Ashley Ndiraya, Precious Marange, Pelajia Mujaji, Chiedza Dhururu, Modester Mupachikwa, Kellies Ndlovu, Tasmeen Granger, Esther Mbofana, Francesca Chipare, Loryn Phiri, Nomvelo Sibanda, Josephine Nkomo, Audrey Mazvishaya, Christabel Chatonzwa
1st ODI – 9 February
2nd ODI – 12 February
3rd ODI – 14 February
1st T20I – 17 February
2nd T20I – 19 February
3rd T20I – 20 February
Men’s series against Afghanistan going ahead…for now.
In March 2021, Zimbabwe’s men’s team are set to make their return to test cricket when they face off in a two-match series against Afghanistan. The series was initially thought to be happening in Oman. However, it has been announced that the series is now scheduled to be hosted in the UAE.
Ahead of the series Zimbabwe Cricket have announced a training squad that has been split into two to allow for match practice games to be held. The training squad has been split into Northerns and Southerns. The teams played the first of multiple training matches on 8 February. These matches will allow the Zimbabwe Cricket selectors to gain a better insight into the form and fitness before selecting the travelling squad.
Southerns Squad: P. Masvaure, T. Kaitano, T. Musakanda, S. Williams, R. Burl, S. Raza, R. Chakabva, W. Masakadza, W. Mashinge, V. Nyauchi, B. Muzarabani, P.J Moor, F. Akram, T. Chisoro, C. Mumba, C. Chibhabha
Northerns Squad: K. Kasuza, B. Mudzinganyama, C. Ervine, B. Taylor, T. Maruma, W. Madhevere, R. Mutumbami, B. Mavuta, D. Tiripano, T. Chivanga, R. Ngarava, L. Jongwe, T. Mufudza, M. Shumba, E. Masuku, T. Kamunhukamwe
Men’s series versus Ireland postponed
Despite the series between Zimbabwe’s women’s team and Pakistan’s women’s team going ahead in Zimbabwe, it has been announced that the upcoming series between Zimbabwe’s men’s team and Ireland’s men’s team has been postponed. The limited-overs tour originally scheduled for April has been postponed with Zimbabwe Cricket citing the current situation of COVID-19 in the country.
ESPN quoted cricket Ireland’s High-Performance Director Richard Holdsworth when talking about the postponement as stating ‘we’re obviously disappointed, but to be honest, it is not an unexpected announcement from our Zimbabwean counterparts … We appreciate their efforts and willingness to try and make the tour possible, but in the end, the health and safety of players and support staff must be of primary consideration … We’ll now look at whether alternate fixtures can be arranged during that period, which is a crucial window in advance of a busy home season and in a T20 World Cup year.’
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