Zimbabwe: Rajput Under Spotlight

Zimbabwe's hopes of qualifying for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup have been dented a big blow with coach Lalchand Rajput coming under the spotlight for the poor run of results by the national team.

The Chevrons, who have normalised losing home and away, remained bottom of the ICC Super League table following the latest ODI whitewash by Bangladesh in Harare.

Zimbabwe lost the third match of the series by five wickets despite a fine batting performance that saw them putting on 298 runs on the board.

The Super league matches carry points that would determine the qualification pathway to the next World Cup.

The Super League features 13 teams comprising 12 ICC Full Members and the Netherlands, who qualified by winning the 2015-17 ICC World Cricket League Championship.

Under the Super League, teams will play eight three-match series each, four at home and four away. Each team gets 10 points for a win, five for a tie/no result/abandonment and nothing for a loss.

Zimbabwe have played six Super League matches to date and have won one and lost five. The Chevrons sit bottom of the 13-team table with 10 points from the super-over victory over Pakistan in Rawalpindi late last year.

They have not made much progress in the qualifying race after losing 2-1 in Pakistan last December before going down 0-3 to Bangladesh this week.

On the bigger picture, the Chevrons will have a lot to do to fight for direct qualification to the 2023 World Cup. Only the top seven teams, plus hosts India, will get the privilege while the bottom five teams will need to go through another round of qualifiers, which will also feature the best teams from the lower rungs of the competition.

Bangladesh, who harvested maximum 30 points from the three-match series, have cemented their place in the top two of the points table.

With eight wins from 12 starts, they are second on the standings with 80 points. The Tigers are just 15 points adrift of log leaders England, who are on 95 points from 15 matches.

Zimbabwe will need to do more with more matches coming up against Ireland next month. They also have unfinished business with Australia.

The team's performance has put the performance of coach Lalchand Rajput under the spotlight.

The Chevrons have played at least 10 Test matches since Rajput arrived on the shores and have won only two and drawn one. Seven ended in defeats.

They have also featured in 29 ODIs and lost a staggering 24 matches while winning five. Four of the ODI wins came against United Arab Emirates. Zimbabwe played the same number of T20Is and won seven while they lost 22.

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