Zimbabwe’s World Cup opponents itching for success

One of Zimbabwe’s opponents in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, South Africa, are hopeful of defending their Women’s World Cup qualifier, which begins in Bangladesh next week. South Africa, who will be seeking to successfully defend the title, are also hoping to use the event as a stepping stone to targeting the overall crown in 2013.

They enjoyed strong performances against England last month in the build-up to the qualifying event, but failed to register a single win over the reigning ICC Women’s World Cup winners.

All-rounder Shandre Fritz recently expressed a belief that the warm-up matches had given the side the confidence to believe that they can challenge the world’s top sides. “We want to go and win this tournament. We are the number five side in the world at the moment and I am not saying it is going to be easy, but we want to win it,” revealed 26-year-old Fritz, who broke her neck in 2006.

“The plan and focus is to win. That is why the series against England was so important for us, just to see where we are at. We think we can go and play against the top four and beat a couple of them. We realise we are not there yet, but we don’t need to be yet, as the World Cup doesn’t happen for over a year. We are happy with where we are now and know what we need to do to beat the top sides.”

She added that the new level of dedication from the side’s players, alongside greater support from Cricket South Africa, which has seen the team getting tips from the men’s side on how to handle conditions in Bangladesh, is being rewarded by stronger team performances.Zimbabwe’s other opponents in Group A will be Sri Lanka, Netherlands and the United States of America, while Group B comprises West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland, Japan, Bangladesh.

The ICC WWCQ 2011 runs from November 14-26 2011 and will be played at four venues in Dhaka.

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