HARARE, Zimbabwe – Captain Jason Holder says West Indies will be keeping a close eye on hosts Zimbabwe, as his side prepares to do battle in the Super Sixes of the ICC World Cup qualifiers beginning Thursday.
West Indies and Zimbabwe, along with Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Ireland and Scotland, have all qualified for the second stage of the competition.
The Caribbean side reunite their rivalry with Zimbabwe in their second match next Monday with memories of their last meeting during the 2016 Tri-Nations Series still fresh.
They lost to Zimbabwe in a rain-affected final preliminary match and missed out on the final against Sri Lanka.
“I think everybody will be up for it. Obviously, it’s a must-win game and a very important game,” Holder said.
“I think the last time we played Zimbabwe in an ODI they got the better of us on Duckworth/Lewis so we won’t forget that and we will have that in the back of our minds going out there.
“They are a quality side, obviously they’re playing at home and they will definitely have the support of the crowd.”
West Indies, the pre-tournament favourites, played unbeaten in the preliminaries to top Group A and will take four points into the Super Sixes where they open their campaign against Afghanistan on Thursday.
They will also face Scotland in their final match on March 21.
Holder said the Windies were in good shape heading into the vital second round of the tournament and would be treating every match with equal importance.
“We’ve obviously qualified for the Super Sixes and not only qualifying but going into the Super Sixes with four points,” he stressed.
“I think that was crucial coming out of the group stages. I think every point is crucial in this tournament and every game is very important.”
West Indies produced dominant performances with the bat throughout the preliminaries with totals of 357, 257 and 309 while batting first in three of their four outings.
And Holder believes key to similar strong totals in the Super Sixes will be the attacking opening pair of veteran Chris Gayle and the youthful Evin Lewis.
“It’s not the first time these guys are opening the batting together,” he said of the pair who have already shared two half-century stands in the competition.
“They play for the same franchise in the CPL back in the Caribbean and they have some pretty good opening partnerships so far, mainly in T20 cricket.
“But having said that, they have a good camaraderie, good understanding, good communication between themselves and it’s really good to see them complementing one another so well.”