Williams oozes confidence as Zimbabwe face Afghanistan in T20Is

Zimbabwe will be looking to get off to a good start when they face Afghanistan in the three-match Twenty20 international (T20I) series that gets underway in Abu Dhabi this Wednesday.

Although Zimbabwe recorded their only T20I victory over Afghanistan in nine attempts when they last met in this version on 20 September 2019, stand-in captain Sean Williams believes his side have what it takes to dominate their nemesis in this series.

“It’s going to take discipline. I think looking at the team planning, strategies and execution will be extremely important . . . the discipline with the ball, the catching and with the bat as well,” Williams told a virtual press conference on the eve of the first match.

“We’ve got to have a good start against them,” he added. Asked about the Rashid Khan factor, Williams acknowledged the Afghanistan star spinner will be a major threat again after his heroics in the just-ended Test series but the skipper is confident Zimbabwe are well-prepared to face him.

“I think he’ll play, definitely. That’s his game,” Williams said. “It’s very different compared to the Test match in which we made him bowl 99.2 overs, very close to 100 overs – he basically bowled for two people in that Test match which is a huge thing for him and credit has got to go to him for that.

“Look, he’s carrying an injury at the moment but I do feel if our guys look to be aggressive we’ll put him off his line and length and that could be a changing factor in the game. “And don’t forget there’s still Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), (Mohammad) Nabi as well, plus the other left-arm spinner in there.

“So with all due respect, it’s a T20 game and if some of our guys get going up especially during the power play it could be a good start.” Williams said it was important for his youthful charges to focus on their own game instead of worrying about the threat posed by their opponents.

“We need to concentrate on our own game and executions . . . we’ve got a bunch of young guys who are fast, can hit the ball hard and have the energy required for T20 cricket,” he said.

“I think they will be able to cope, they are strong enough mentally and they have got the skills definitely – otherwise they wouldn’t be here. “I’m backing them big time especially in this format of the game where you can play freely. It’s a fast game, you’ve got to be thinking on your feet.

“I back them . . . those guys are fit, they are strong, they are talented and they have what it takes.” Zimbabwe have brought in Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Milton Shumba and Faraz Akram to replace Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza and Victor Nyauchi who returned home after the Test series.

Zimbabwe T20I Squad:
Sean Williams (captain), Faraz Akram, Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Milton Shumba, Donald Tiripano

Afghanistan-Zimbabwe T20I Series Schedule:

  • First T20I – Wednesday, 17 March 2021
  • Second T20I – Friday, 19 March 2021
  • First T20I – Saturday, 20 March 2021

All matches are scheduled to start at 1400 hours, local time (1200 hours, CAT)