Brighton Zhawi Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE batsmen Sikandar Raza and Craig Ervine are pleased to be scoring runs in the domestic league ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next month. The two top order batters scored tons in a Pro 50 Championship match between Mashonaland Eagles and Matabeleland Tuskers at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Recalled opener Chamu Chibhabha also scored a fifty as his purple patch continues.
Domestic Pro 50 matches have been rescheduled to give game time to the World Cup-going players, before they leave on January 28.
There will be games again this Saturday and next week before Dave Whatmore’s men leave for Down Under where they will also play a number of warm-up matches.
Raza, who powered his team to an emphatic nine-wicket win with an unbeaten 106 after having also picked four wickets, said getting a hundred was important.
“Runs are very important regardless of when you get them,” he said.
“When I went to Uganda (with Takashinga) the only thing was to make sure I try to get as many runs as I could.
“Every time I walk out there, if I can find that hunger for runs, I think there is a very big chance of me scoring runs.
“Our batters have taken a lot of stick in the past and I think for three of us to score runs, that’s a good sign, the batters are finding form.
“What I can take from this is the confidence, scoring a hundred does not guarantee scoring runs in the next game, but it does put you in a good frame of mind for you to go out in the next game and score some runs.
“I am going to treat every game like it’s my last,” said Raza.
For Ervine, whose fourth List A hundred anchored the wobbling Tuskers innings, it was equally crucial in his World Cup preparations.
“It’s nice to have three franchise games before we leave.
“And it’s also good to see guys that are in the World Cup squad making runs.
“You don’t get any better practice than middle practice. I think if you can score the runs out there, it gives you some confidence to do it against the bigger teams. But it’s always nice scoring a hundred.
“I feel like I am in form, I haven’t had much middle time before, probably since the third Test match in Bangladesh.
“So playing the two Canada games I did feel a bit rusty,” said Ervine.
He said there was unity in their camp. Guys are supportive of others, we do have a close group at the end of the day if somebody does well, the team is going to benefit from it.
“The most important games are probably Ireland and UAE because if you want to get through to the next round you have to beat those two and hopefully you can get an upset over one other.
“We probably are expected to win those two games, those games are not easy because they also see us as the team to beat so it will be a good competition.”
The franchise matches continue tomorrow when Eagles host Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club while Tuskers engage Rhinos in Bulawayo.