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11/03/2014 00:00:00
by ICC-cricket.com
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It’s BEEN seven years since Zimbabwe pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, beating Australia in its first outing in 2007.

However, the team has been on a downward spiral since, having lost all its five matches in three tournaments.

Needing to progress from the preliminary round to qualify for the main draw, Zimbabwe has its task cut out in the 2014 edition.

Captain Brendan Taylor knows what’s at stake. "We have to qualify," Taylor said after the team's arrival in Chittagong.

"We are not taking any team lightly. As [Hong Kong captain] Jamie Atkinson said, the gap between Associates and Affiliates is reducing and it's good to see world cricket developing. It can be anyone's game on the day."

Zimbabwe will be desperate to prove it belongs on the large stage. The country has played few international matches since September.

Scheduled series against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan were postponed and the domestic season brought to a halt following a protest by players.

A few domestic matches and a warm-up game against Bangladesh has been the only cricket it has managed to play.

Despite the limited opportunities the team has been presented with, Taylor remained optimistic. "Our preparation has been excellent and we are looking forward to the challenge."

Having played 33 ODIs in Bangladesh, which is the second highest outside home, Zimbabwe will be in familiar territory.

The only country it has played more limited-overs cricket is India, where conditions are similar. Taylor hopes Zimbabwe can capitalise on this experience.

"We've been here a number of times, so we are familiar with the conditions," he said.

"It still takes a bit of getting used to, especially from where we come from, but we had a good start with a good win over Bangladesh A.

“They had some good players in there so hopefully we can take some momentum from there."


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