BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
AFTER finally moving from the foot of the 13-team ICC Cricket World Cup Super League standings, Zimbabwe will have an opportunity to leapfrog neighbours South Africa with a win over Ireland in the third ODI at Stormont Cricket Ground in Belfast tomorrow.
Zimbabwe claimed 10 valuable points with a victory over Ireland in the first ODI on Wednesday before the two teams shared five ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points each after persistent rain forced an abandonment of the second match on Friday.
The share of the spoils took Zimbabwe’s points tally to 25 from eight matches, which lifted them to 12th and within nine points of their ninth placed neighbours South Africa, who have played a match more.
This gives Zimbabwe’s third ODI against Ireland tomorrow much more significance, with a lot at stake for both teams as they seek to make progress on the Super League log.
A win for Zimbabwe today will lift them above South Africa and leave them just 10 points behind their hosts, who are in eighth position on 40 points from 14 matches.
England are currently at the top of the log on 95 points from 15 matches while Bangladesh, who recently completed a series whitewash over Zimbabwe are second on 80 points from 12 matches.
Of the 13 teams in the 2020-23 Super League cycle, eight sides who include hosts India and seven other top-ranked teams, will qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup.
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The other two spots will be determined at a World Cup qualifying tournament that is scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe.
At that tournament, the teams placed from positions nine to 13 on the Super League log will play against three League 2 teams and two teams from the Challenge League.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe are unlikely to make any changes to the side which featured in the washed out match against Ireland on Friday.
The Lalchand Rajput coached side will, however, need to put on a much better display with the ball after the rains appeared to save them from a daunting run chase.
The hosts posted 228 for eight in their innings, with William Porterfield (67) and Harry Tector (55) each scoring half-centuries, before the heavens opened.