Zimbabwe (above), who have played just a game so far, failed to win the tie against visitors Sri Lanka    AFP
Zimbabwe (above), who have played just a game so far, failed to win the tie against visitors Sri Lanka AFP

Hosts Zimbabwe take on visitors West Indies in the third One-Day International (ODI) of the ongoing Zimbabwe tri-nation series at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday. Zimbabwe, who have played just a game so far, failed to win the tie against visitors Sri Lanka, as they were drubbed by the South Asian giants by eight wickets, while they aim to shrug the loss aside, and start afresh, as they eye their opening win against West Indies, who on the other hand, have played a game so far against Lanka, and managed to win the tie by 64 runs, as the Caribbeans would aim to notch another win here at stay atop the table. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Zimbabwe vs West Indies, Zimbabwe tri-nation series, 3rd ODI at Bulawayo

Considering the team’s performance in the previous ties, Zimbabwe an average outing with the bat against Sri Lanka, where they managed to score just 154 runs, with Peter Moor and skipper Graeme Cremer being the top scorers with 47, and 31 being their respective scores. As for their performance with the ball, they just managed to claim a couple of wickets, with Tinashe Panyangara and Chamu Chibhabha claiming a wicket each, as they expect to come up with an improved performance in the third ODI vs the Windies.

As for West Indies, who played their last game against Lanka, ended up on the winning note, as they put up a good show with the bat, scoring 227, with Jonathan Carter scoring 54, Shai Hope scoring 47, and Rovman Powell scoring 44, while the bowlers in the form of Shannon Gabriel and Ashley Nurse claimed three wickets each, along with skipper Jason Holder, who claimed a couple, and they aim to keep up with the same winning combination and performance. Zimbabwe Tri-nation series 2016: Points table and team standings

Therefore, going by the performance in the previous tie, the host Zimbabwean team just might want to make a few changes in order to get things right and hopefully get a win out of it. Opener Brain Chari could make way for veteran Hamilton Masakadza. Also Craig Ervine could be replaced by Malcolm Waller. Either of Sikandar Raza or Sean Williams to face the axe for Waller, while Elton Chugumbura could be dropped for Tarisai Musakanda. Also, Carl Mumba could face the axe.

As for West Indies, it is highly unlikely that they would fiddle with the side, which just beat Lanka, and disturb the winning combination, as chances are most likely that they would stick to the same winning side, when they take on the hosts. However, few changes can’t be ruled out either, as opener Johnson Charles could be dropped for Shane Dowrich, while Sulieman Benn could miss out to Miguel Cummins or Sunil Narine.

Considering the match being played at Bulawayo, which is traditionally known to be on the even side, both the teams are most likely to move in with a balanced squad. Therefore, a tough contest is likely on the cards. However, considering the poor form of Zimbabwe, the Windies definitely have the upper hand.

The triangular series have made a quiet comeback to the existing cricket set-up. There was a time in the 90s and early 2000s when triangular ODI series were in fashion. But with the changing times and keeping FTP needs in mind, bilateral ODI series became a norm.

Recently, earlier this year, West Indies hosted South Africa and World Champions Australia for a triangular series which gave some really close games and produced terrific matches. Buoyed by its success, here is another tri-nation series. All the three teams will play each other twice in the series and final will be played between the two teams that win most number of games. Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka will play the tri-nation series opener at Harare on November 14. It will be a day game. As a matter of fact, all the matches to be played in the tournament will be day games, starting at 12:30 pm IST.

The contests will be much closer when three teams square off for the tri-series in Zimbabwe. Triangular series as it is better known as, was very popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. With the FTP in mind, these tournaments faded away and made way for bilateral series but it seems the format is making its entry again. Earlier this year, we saw West Indies host World Champions Australia and the strong South African side in a tri-series. West Indies managed to eclipse South Africa and entered the final that they played against Australia but ended up losing it. Tri-series definitely add to the excitement.

Meanwhile, West Indies once giants of the game, are crawling towards the shadow of their pristine past. They have proved themselves as a formidable unit in the Twenty20 (T20) format and earlier this year they won the ICC World T20, becoming the first side to win the tournament twice. They also beat India in a series in the US. However, in the 50-over format they have been inconsistent and recently suffered a whitewash against Pakistan at UAE. They have reasonable talent and their confidence will be boosted by the Test win they just registered at Sharjah. Zimbabwe might be the underdogs but the home conditions might see them pull off inspiring shows and two years back, in a tri-series game, they upset Australia.

Squads:

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura, Brian Chari, Graeme Cremer (c), Carl Mumba, Hamilton Masakadza, Tendai Chisoro, Sikandar Raza, Tinashe Panyangara, Donald Tiripano, Peter Moor (wk), Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Chamu Chibhabha.

West Indies: Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Ashley Nurse, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Johnson Charles, Jonathan Carter, Darren Bravo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Carlos Brathwaite, Sulieman Benn, Jason Holder (c).

Time: 09:30 local | 07:30 GMT | 13:00 IST

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)