Team Zimbabwe at Cricket World Cup

Team Zimbabwe squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:

Elton Chigumbura (captain), Regis Chakabva (wicket keeper), Chamu Chibhabha, Tendai Chatara, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tawanda Mupariwa, Solomon Mire, Tinashe Panyangara, Tawanda Mupariwa, Sikandar Raza, Prosper Utseya, Brandon Taylor (wicket keeper), Sean Williams.

Team Zimbabwe performances in Cricket World Cups: - 

Zimbabwe cricket team made its debut in 1983 cricket world cup that was played in England. Overall Zimbabwe has featured in eight world cups, played 51 matches, won 10, lost 37, three ended without any result while one was tied.

Six out of eight appearances in world cup editions, Zimbabwe were eliminated in the first round. Their best performances came in 1999 and 2003 world cups when they reached Super Six stage.

In 1983, Zimbabwe was a part of Group B with teams like West Indies, Australia and India. Overall Zimbabwe had a disappointing outing in England where they lost five out of their six group matches and were eliminated early. The only thing to cheer about was their win against Australia. Infact that was their first ever appearance in World Cup history when they played Australia on 9th June 1983 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham in England. Skipper Duncan Fletcher scored 69 not out to take Zimbabwe total to 239 for 6. In reply Australia were restricted to 226 for 7 - again Fletcher the hero took four wickets. That was one of the biggest upsets in  cricket world cup history.

Similar was the case of 1987 world cup played in the Indian sub-continent. Zimbabwe had another dismal outing with six straight losses in the group stage. The only match where they came very close to a win was against New Zealand. Chasing a target of 243 runs, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 239 in the last over. David Houghton scored a brilliant 142 runs for Zimbabwe.

While Zimbabwe played in 1992 world cup down under, they had already gained a good amount of experience in International cricket. Although Zimbabwe couldn't make it to the second round again, they had two notable outings. When they faced Sri Lanka at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth in New Zealand on 23rd February 1992, we all witness loads of runs. Zimbabwe scored 312 for 4 with Andy Flower scoring 115 not out. Sri Lanka took advantage of the small ground and chased the total with three wickets in hand and four balls left. Although they lost the match but won a lot of hearts. 

After losing seven matches on the trot Zimbabwe faced England in their last round robin match. England already qualified for the semi finals and this match was merely a formality for them. But no team would like to lose against so called minnows Zimbabwe. England bowled well to bowl out Zimbabwe for 134. Ian Botham took 3/23 in his quota of 10 overs. Eddo Brandes had some different plans in his mind. He stunned everyone with a spell of 4/21. Shockingly England were bowled out for 125. Zimbabwe created another big upset in world cup history.

1996 cricket world cup played in Indian sub-continent was another ordinary outing for Zimbabwe. Placed in Group A, Zimbabwe played five matches and managed to win just one match. This victory came against Kenya.

Moving to the 1999 World Cup, Zimbabwe was placed in Group A. Surprisingly Zimbabwe came up with three wins in the group stage and hence moved on to the next round of Super Sixes. Two out of those three wins were really big. The first one came against India on 19th May 1999 at Grace Road, Leicester in England. Batting first Zimbabwe scored 252 runs. In reply India were bowled out for 249 runs in 45 overs. The next big win came against South Africa on 29th May 1999 at County Ground, Chelmsford in England. Batting first Zimbabwe scored 233 for 6. In reply South Africa could manage just 185 runs. Neil Johnson batted well to score 76 and he clinched three wickets. He was declared Player of the Match.

Zimbabwe couldn't do well enough in the Super Six stage to qualify for the semi-finals. They lost to Australia and Pakistan and their match against New Zealand ended in 'no result'.

2003 World Cup brought a similar success for Zimbabwe as they again reached the Super Six stage. Zimbabwe played six matches, won three, lost two and one ended without any result. England forfeited their match with Zimbabwe after observing political unrest in Zimbabwe. This helped Zimbabwe in qualifying for the Super Six. Yet again, there was nothing to cheer about in the Super Six stage as Zimbabwe lost all their three matches and hence eliminated.

There was nothing special about 2007 world cup for Zimbabwe. Placed in Group D with West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan, Zimbabwe couldn't win a single match. They could manage to tie a match against Ireland on 15th March 2007 at Sabina Park, Kingston in Jamaica.

Zimbabwe toured to Indian sub-continent for 2011 World Cup. The team played six matches in Group A, won two and lost four. The two big wins came against Canada and Kenya. Zimbabwe defeated Canada by 175 runs at Nagpur on 28th February 2011. They also clinched a win by 161 runs against Kenya at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 20th March 2011.

The team will have their own plans for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Get ready for some upsets if this team performs to its optimum. They have nothing to lose - so expect some fearless cricket from Zimbabwean youngsters in Australia and New Zealand.

By Tejas Thakkar

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