Zimbabwe can upset Oz under certain conditions: coach

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 18:28 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher on Sunday said with certain conditions favouring them, the African team can upset the three-time defending champions Australia in their World Cup opener here on Monday.

"They have four quicks and we have a fair idea how they bowl. If we play our best cricket and they don`t, we may have a chance. But if we play to our best and Australia also play at their best we probably won`t have a chance," Butcher said
ahead of his squad`s inaugural tie at the Motera ground.

Butcher`s admission might look as a defeatist attitude, but going by past records it`s clear who, between the two, is the favourite to win the game. In 27 head-to-head meetings, the Aussies have emerged victorious on 25 occasions with one no result.

The only occasion Zimbabwe bested Australia, significantly, was in the 1983 World Cup in England at Nottingham. Australia hold a 7-1 edge in Cup play between the two countries.

Team captain Elton Chigumbara said that his team has to be at its best to compete well against the three-time defending champions.

"We have trained over the last four to five weeks. We need to play our best cricket. Everyone needs to play the role (assigned to him). Everyone is confident," the Zimbabwe skipper said.

Butcher said his team`s strategy would be to try and fox the free-stroking Australian batsmen, suspected to be a bit weak against slow bowlers, with a spin-oriented attack and the rivals also know what awaits them.

"We are focused. We know spinners, by and large, are our best bowlers. That`s going to be our strategy and Australians also know it. There`s a big chance of a spinner opening the bowling. But we have to bowl well," he said.

The Englishman also admitted that Zimbabwe would need to keep down the Australian score to less than 300 to entertain chances of chasing it successfully.

"300 to 320 would be difficult," he said.

PTI