Pint-sized Tatenda Taibu smashed 98 as Zimbabwe kept their World Cup quarter-final hopes alive on Monday, paying tribute to lessons learned from Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly.
Taibu played with the Australian and Indian in his time with Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and he believes his short spell alongside them made him a better player.
“Sharing the dressing room with great players such as Ricky Ponting, Sourav Ganguly was a great experience. I learnt a lot about the game from them,” said Taibu after Monday’s 175-run win over Canada. “It helped me improve as a player.”
The win over Canada gave Zimbabwe, who made 298 on Monday, their first victory after a 91-run loss to defending champions Australia. The 27-year-old Taibu, a former national skipper, said the advent of Twenty20 cricket had helped more teams pile up big scores.
So far at the World Cup, the 300-run barrier has been breached six times with India and England both making 338 in Sunday’s nail-biting tie in Bangalore on Sunday.
“T20 has helped in piling up big scores. Also, with the introduction of the batting powerplay and innovative shots, you get bigger scores,” he said.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura said that Monday’s 175-run win would provide much-needed impetus with four group league matches still to play.
“Obviously, I am happy with the performance of the boys. We got a big partnership (181 between Taibu and Craig Ervine) going. We would still like to take it one game at a time and not think about a quarter-final berth straight away.”
Zimbabwe are in Group A at the World Cup with Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand tipped to fill the four quarter-final qualifying berths.