HomeSportCricketWe have to qualify: Brendan Taylor

We have to qualify: Brendan Taylor

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CHITTAGONG — It’s been seven years since Zimbabwe pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the ICC World Twenty20 (T20) tournament, beating Australia in their first outing in 2007.

However, the team have been on a downward spiral since, having lost all five matches in three tournaments.

Needing to progress from the preliminary round to qualify for the main draw, Zimbabwe have their task cut out in the 2014 edition.

Captain Brendan Taylor knows what’s at stake. “We have to qualify,” Taylor said during the ICC World T20 open media session on Monday.

“We are not taking any team lightly. As (Hong Kong captain) Jamie Atkinson said, the gap between associates and affiliates is reducing and it’s good to see world cricket developing. It can be anyone’s game on the day.”

Zimbabwe will be desperate to prove it belongs on the large stage. It has played few international matches since September.

Scheduled series against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan were postponed and the domestic season brought to a halt following a protest by players.

A few domestic matches and a warm-up game against Bangladesh have been the only cricket they have managed to play. Despite the limited opportunities the team have been presented with, Taylor remained optimistic. “Our preparation has been excellent and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Having played 33 one-day internationals in Bangladesh, which is the second highest outside home, Zimbabwe will be in familiar territory. The only country they have played more limited-overs cricket with is India, where conditions are similar. Taylor hopes Zimbabwe could capitalise on this experience.

“We’ve been here a number of times, so we are familiar with the conditions,” he said. “It still takes a bit of getting used to, especially from where we come from, but we had a good start with a good win over Bangladesh A. They had some good players in there, so hopefully we could take some momentum from there.”

Zimbabwe will intensify their preparations with a warm-up match against minnows Hong Kong at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong today.

Taylor and his charges will them play Afghanistan in their final warm-up game at the MA Aziz Stadium on Friday before their first match in the World T20 preliminary stages against Ireland on Monday.

—Icc-cricket.com

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