AFTER a miserable few months, in which they transformed themselves into a Mickey Mouse team, the Chevrons have a golden chance to find a path back into the light with a T20I series win over Sri Lanka in Colombo today.
The poor run, in which they even lost to the likes of Namibia and Uganda, came at a huge cost for the Chevrons as they lost their inspirational coach, Dave Houghton, who was the architect of their stunning revival.
They also failed to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC Cricket T20 World Cup.
Not many gave them any hope of winning even a single game when they arrived in Sri Lanka for another brutal test on the tricky Asian sub-continent tracks. In cricket, not many give a team, which loses to Uganda, a chance for salvation in assignments in such tough conditions as those found in Sri Lanka.
But, somehow, the Chevrons have been competitive in this T20I series and were unlucky to lose the first game, beaten when the last two balls reaped six runs, before bouncing back to win the second match on Tuesday.
Now, Sikandar Raza and his men go into the decider today walking with a spring in their step after finally remembering who they are and what they can do with both ball and bat.
Raza was part of the Chevrons side which was in Sri Lanka in 2017 and almost won the sole Test, only for the hosts to chase a record 388, before they won the ODI series 3-2.
The star all-rounder knows his men need to evoke the spirit of 2017 if they are to leave with a series win rather than just the comfort of losers that, at least, they were competitive.
Craig Ervine, whose 70 was crucial in the chase on Tuesday, Ryan Burl, Wellington Masakadza, the impressive Richard Ngarava and Sean Williams were all part of that triumphant team in 2017.
After winning the first ODI by six wickets, thanks Solomon Mire’s 112, Sri Lanka fought back to win the next two by seven wickets and eight wickets to take a 2-1 lead.
However, Hamilton Masakadza’s century in a losing cause in the third ODI reminded the hosts there was still some fight in that Zimbabwean team.
This was displayed in the final two matches as Zimbabwe won both games by four wickets and three wickets to claim an historic away series win.
As he did on Tuesday, Ervine anchored Zimbabwe to victory in the crucial fourth game with a fine half century before Hamilton Masakadza’s 73 powered the Chevrons to the series-clinching win.
It was Zimbabwe’s first ODI series win over Sri Lanka and, if they can evoke the Spirit of 2017, they have a chance to add a T20I series win to that collection today.