The Zimbabwe Chevrons appear to have their tails up, heading into today’s fifth and final one-day-international against Afghanistan.By Tinashe Kusema
After a disappointing start to the series, where the Asians raced to a two-nil lead, the Chevrons responded with class and aplomb.
First, the team grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat during Tuesday’s low scoring thriller in which Zimbabwe won by three runs.
The team then put the all-important exclamation mark on their spirited comeback, with another clinical display during Friday’s seven-wicket victory that left the series tied at two-games apiece going into today’s encounter.
The match, according to Zimbabwe Cricket, will be free of entry up to 11AM.
Now, for all the talk below par batting; one of the players behind Zimbabwe’s resurgence is Christopher Mpofu.
After giving way to the pairing of Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava with the new ball, Mpofu looks to have found his own way of contributing to the team’s effort.
Going into today’s encounter, the 27-year-old is currently ranked second on the leading wicket-takers chart, with his nine wickets only eclipsed by Chatara’s 10 scalps.
In Tuesday’s victory, Mpofu combined well with Sean Williams (3/15) to orchestrate the visitors’ monumental collapse, which saw them fail to chase down a 129-run target.
He played a more prominent role, three days later, when his three for 25 runs won him the Man-of-the Match award.
Asked the reasons behind his new rich vein of form, Mpofu boiled it down to two simple words – “faith” and “self-belief”.
“I can’t say that I have done a lot, but I think it has more to do with self-belief and my faith,” said Mpofu.
“I have changed a few things in my life, and have been working harder on my game.
“Luckily, it appears to be working well for me so far,” he said.
Now as Zimbabwe looks to close out the series, the Chevrons will need more than Mpofu’s faith and renewed faith.
Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer has urged the batsmen to rise to the occasion.
“Our plans have gone well so far, our bowling has been excellent throughout the series, but the difference has been with the batting.
“We need the top-order to give us more runs,” he said.
The Asian camp, however, appears to be unfazed.
“It is unfortunate that the batsmen have not handled the pressure situations well, but that is cricket for you,” said Afghanistan’s all-rounder Mohammed Nabi.
“We are not under that much pressure; if you watched our last few tours against Zimbabwe, the clashes have been tightly contested and we enjoy that kind of cricket,’ he said.