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  5. 'We were awful' - Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton slams players after loss in ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualfier

'We were awful' - Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton slams players after loss in ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualfier

Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Rwanda, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria are the six teams which are participating in the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup Africa Region Qualifier 2023. Only two out of these six will earn qualification for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

Written By: Kumar Rupesh @afiestysoul New Delhi Updated on: November 23, 2023 16:56 IST
Zimbabwe head coach Dave Houghton (right).
Image Source : ZIMBABWE CRICKET/X Zimbabwe head coach Dave Houghton (right).

Zimbabwe's head coach Dave Houghton has slammed his players following their defeat to Namibia in their ICC Men's T20 World Cup Africa Region Qualifier 2023 opener. Namibia registered a convincing seven-wicket win over the Chevrons with 32 balls to spare while playing at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek on Thursday, November 22.

After being sent in by the Namibia skipper Gerhard Erasmus, Zimbabwe got off to a scary start as Tadiwanashe Marumani, Nick Welch and Sean Williams were back in the hutch inside the first three overs.

Veteran southpaw Craig Ervine tried to steady Zimbabwe's dwindling boat alongside the newly-appointed skipper Sikandar Raza and took the score to 73 before getting out to Tangeni Lungameni at an individual score of 36 off 33 balls.

Raza also departed 10 balls later after scoring 20 runs and a much-needed contribution from allrounder Ryan Burlwho scored an unbeaten 27 off 25 balls with the help of a boundary and a six helped Zimbabwe to post a respectable total of 132 on the board.

In reply, Namibia's openers Michael van Lingen (30 off 20 balls) and Nikolaas Davin (89 off 45 balls) dented Zimbabwe's hopes of making a comeback as they put together 88 runs in eight overs. 

The defeat irked Houghton and he didn't mince his words either, calling it "probably one of the worst games in a Zimbabwean jersey".

"When you ask what went wrong, as far as I am concerned, we got everything wrong. We were awful today, embarrassingly bad. It's probably one of the worst games that I have ever been associated with in a Zimbabwean jersey.

"Why it happens, I have absolutely no idea. We train hard, we train with specifics. The guys worked really hard, they had enough energy coming into this game, but we batted poorly and followed that up by bowling poorly and our fielding was average," Houghton was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

However, Houghton is aware that it is not the end of the road for Zimbabwe and that they can still turn things around and qualify for the T20 World Cup despite "the terrible start to the tournament".

"It's a terrible start to this tournament, but we do know we've got to win the next five games and still qualify. That's important for us, but not my best day and certainly not my happiest day. In fact, I feel like we should be all out here apologising to our fans.

"We can't dwell on these losses. It's important they recognise how bad a loss that was - which is what I have just given them in the changeroom - but it is a quick turnaround and that's a good thing we can put it all right tomorrow afternoon and get ourselves on the board with a win and then start our march towards qualifying," he mentioned.

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