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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Zimbabwe hopes rest on Flower's finger

Telford Vice | March 02, 2003 14:32 IST

Grant Flower's spinning finger could well hold the key to Zimbabwe's chances of pulling off an upset win over Pakistan in their World Cup Group A match on Tuesday.

Although Pakistan will be heavily fancied to beat Zimbabwe in a game both sides need to win to have a chance of qualifying for the tournament's Super Six stage, Flower will be hoping to reproduce his remarkable track record at Queens Sports Club.

The one-day all rounder's batting average of 61.57 at the Bulaqwayo venue is almost double his career average but he did not play in Zimbabwe's game against the Netherlands on Friday because of a badly cut finger.

He sustained the injury while fielding in the match against India in Harare on February 19, and the wound required five stitches.

However Zimbabwe nearly always play two spinners on the flat Queens Sports Club pitch, and they need Flower to partner leg spinner Brian Murphy in that department to give themselves their best chance of beating Pakistan.

"It (the finger) should be fine for Tuesday, and hopefully I'll be able to bowl," Flower told Reuters on Sunday. "I've tried bowling in the nets, but I can just roll it off the finger rather than spin it hard."

On paper, Zimbabwe have no chance of beating Pakistan, having won just two of 29 one-dayers between the sides while losing nine out of 11, with one tie, at home.

Although Pakistan will be smarting from their six-wicket loss to India in Centurion on Saturday, they will happily recall their most recent visit to Zimbabwe, having crushed their hosts 5-0 in a one-day series last November and December.

"They taught us a huge lesson, they outplayed us in every facet of the game," Flower said. "They might not be playing as confidently as they were then, but they seem to have their form again.

"They're the type of players who rise to the big occasion. They're all quality players and, when it comes to the important matches, they raise their game.


"You've got to have quality bowlers to counter them when they're flying, and you can't panic. You need guys who can raise their game equally."

Flower added that Zimbabwe's attack needed to improve if they were to have a chance of keeping Pakistan's batsmen in check.

"We're bowling too many bad balls and we aren't creating enough pressure," Flower said. "Our big problem has been not containing the other sides in the first 15 overs."

Flower expects a stiff challenge from Pakistan's bowlers.

"Against the weaker teams you get loose balls, you get wide balls to cut and short balls to pull," Flower said. "Against the better attacks, you don't.

"On their day, Pakistan's attack is up there with the better ones in the game, but they can be erratic and they can lack discipline."

That, and the pressure created by the battle in Group A for the third spot in the Super Sixes, could even the odds between two otherwise mismatched teams.

Australia and India have already qualified for the second phase, with England, Pakistan and Zimbabwe all vying for the remaining berth from the group.

"They (Pakistan) have a lot more quality players than we have but, in the World Cup format, this match is a mini-final," Flower said.

"It comes down to which team is more up for it, and I think there's a pretty good spirit in our side at the moment."

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Sub: Pak does not have confidence

Pakistan team is truely lacking confidence and at this point what I feel is that even Zimbabwe is capable of beating it. As was pointed ...

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