Zimbabwe impressed with their spin bowling in their first game when defending champions Australia made 262-6, but were let down by their batsmen as they were dismissed for 171 to suffer a 91-run defeat in Ahmedabad.
They were found wanting against Australia’s quality pace attack, led by Mitchell Johnson who finished with 4-19. He was brilliantly backed by fast bowlers Shaun Tait and Brett Lee, who shared three wickets.
Zimbabwe will again rely on spinners to keep the pressure on Canada after an eye-catching show by Ray Price, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer against a strong Australian batting line-up.
Left-arm spinner Price, off-spinner Utseya and leg-spinner Cremer did not allow the Australian batsmen to dominate, conceding 127 runs in a combined tally of 30 overs.
“I think it’s going to be a game of spinners. They have got a couple of good spinners bowling early overs and if we can get through those overs and score at a consistent rate we can do well,” Canada skipper Ashish Bagai said.
“It’s the same with our bowling. If we can get our spinners to fire on that day, hopefully it will work for us. We have a diverse bowling attack and we bowl within ourselves. There is no express pace.”
Zimbabwe are not expected to face a hostile pace attack against Canada, but need to put in a better batting performance in their quest for a winn in Group A where Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand are expected to claim the four slots in the quarter-finals.
Zimbabwe have excellent batsmen in Brendan Taylor, Charles Coventry, Tatenda Taibu, Craig Ervine and the skipper himself, but none could give a good account of himself against the sharp Australian pace attack.
Coventry shared the highest individual score of 194 with Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar before being surpassed by India’s Sachin Tendulkar, who cracked the first double-century in one-day internationals against South Africa last year.
Canada will also be determined to give an improved batting display after a dismal performance against hosts Sri Lanka in their opening match at the new venue in Hambantota.
They could manage just 122 chasing a stiff 333-run target, with Rizwan Cheema (37) and Bagai (22) being the only batsmen to cross the 20-mark.
“In the past it has been explosive hitting, but we haven’t seen that from the senior batsmen yet,” said Bagai.
Canada have a hard-hitting batsman in John Davison, who hammered a then World Cup record of a 67-ball hundred against the West Indies in the 2003 edition at Centurion in South Africa.