The Zimbabwe Senior Men’s National Cricket Team arrived in Bulawayo on Wednesday to get their final preparations underway ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B 2022 scheduled for 11-17 July.
The eight-team tournament, set for Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club, is one of two global contests that together form the final stage of the qualification process for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be staged in Australia later in the year.
On their way to the host city, Zimbabwe players and technical staff spent a night over at Antelope Park in Gweru for team bonding activities that included game viewing.
“It was a good and very relaxing day and good time together, although a bit cold,” Zimbabwe’s newly appointed Head Coach, Dave Houghton, said.
“We saw a fair amount of game, had a good braai together and had a team chat this morning for me to get our approach and style of play across.”
Houghton, who will take charge of his first training session on Thursday, said having the team arriving early in Bulawayo was crucial.
“It is vital that we are preparing in Bulawayo and at Queens. We will get used to the wickets, their pace and how much they spin etc,” he said.
“It’s also important to get a feel of the size of the boundary and pace of the outfield. So being here is an advantage.”
Zimbabwe will play Singapore in the opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B 2022 at Queens Sports Club on 11 July.
The hosts will then face Jersey and the United States of America (USA) in other Group A matches at the same venue. Group B features the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Hong Kong and Uganda.
The teams that make it into the final will clinch the two remaining spots at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
“My expectation, as is the expectation of the whole team, is to win this qualifying tournament. Simple as that!” Houghton said.
Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ireland proceeded from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier A staged in Oman, joining Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies who had already automatically qualified by virtue of reaching the Super 12 phase at the last edition of the main global showpiece.
Zimbabwe and Singapore sealed their places in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B 2022 based on their ICC MRF Tyres Men’s T20I Team rankings.
The Netherlands and PNG entered the qualification pathway at this stage following their finishing positions in the first round at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 co-hosted by the UAE and Oman, while Hong Kong, Jersey, Uganda and the USA advanced from the regional finals.