ZIM vs WI, 1st Test: Preview, stats, and Fantasy XI
Zimbabwe are gearing up to host West Indies in the opener of the two-match Test series, starting on Saturday (February 4). The home team will take the field as underdogs due to the absence of several key players. Craig Ervine will lead the depleted side. On the other hand, the Caribbean team will field a pretty strong XI. Here's the preview of the opener.
Pitch report, timing, and broadcast details
The Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo will host this duel. The venue has hosted 23 Tests so far with the side batting first winning on just four occasions. Teams fielding first have won 11 times. The track here is conducive for batting in initial days with the average first-innings score being 309. The match will be live-streamed on FanCode (1:30 PM IST).
Here is the head-to-head record
West Indies firmly dominate Zimbabwe in terms of head-to-head record in Tests. The two sides have crossed swords 10 times with WI emerging winners on seven occasions. Three matches ended in a draw. The two sides last met in Tests in 2017, which saw WI recording a 1-0 win. On Zimbabwe soil, WI have three wins and as many draws in Tests.
Can depleted Zimbabwe surprise WI?
Zimbabwe's regular skipper Sean Williams will miss the series due to a fractured finger. All-rounders Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl aren't available either. Hence, eyes will be on Gary Ballance, who'll make his Zimbabwe Test debut. Meanwhile, the Caribbean team would rely on their skipper Kraigg Brathwaite. All-rounders Roston Chase and Jason Holder are the other names to watch out for.
A look at the Probable XI of both sides
Zimbabwe (Probable XI): Milton Shumba, Tanunurwa Makoni, Gary Ballance, Craig Ervine (Captain), Innocent Kaia, Tafadzwa Tsiga (Wicket-keeper), Chamunorwa Chibhaba, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Victor Nyauchi, Richard Ngarva West Indies (Probable XI): Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Tagnarine Chanderpaul, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva (Wicket-keeper), Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie
Who are the key performers?
Ballance played 23 Tests for England. He scored 1,498 in the longest format at 37.45 (50s: 7, 100s: 4). Meanwhile, Ervine owns 1,208 Test runs at a decent average of 35.53 (50s: 4, 100s: 3). With 687 runs in seven games at 62.45, Brathwaite was WI's highest run-getter in Tests last year. Alzarri Joseph took 27 wickets in seven Tests in 2022.
Dream11 Fantasy cricket options
Fantasy XI (Option 1): Joshua da Silva, Kraigg Brathwaite, Gary Ballance, Craig Ervine (C), Jason Holder (VC), Roston Chase, Milton Shumba, Gudakesh Motie, Alzarri Joseph, Donald Tiripano, Richard Ngarava Fantasy XI (Option 2): Joshua da Silva, Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Jermaine Blackwood, Craig Ervine, Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Milton Shumba, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph (VC), Donald Tiripano, Richard Ngarava