The upcoming five-game ODI series against India at home presents Zimbabwe with a stiff challenge, considering that they have won just five matches against any team aside from Bangladesh and Associate members in the last five years. Since July 2008, Zimbabwe have won just five ODI series - two each against Bangladesh and Kenya and one over Ireland.
In that time, they have played 80 ODIs - winning 29 and losing 51. Of those 29 wins, ten each came against Bangladesh and Kenya. The other wins came over Ireland (3), India (2), Sri Lanka (1), West Indies (1), New Zealand (1) and Canada (1).
In the summer of 2010, Brendan Taylor's team beat India twice to reach the final of a tri-series at home which they ended up losing to Sri Lanka. During that tournament they also beat Sri Lanka. Earlier that year they snuck in a two-run win over West Indies before losing the next four matches of that ODI series. The last time Zimbabwe beat any side apart from Bangladesh or the other minnows was in October 2011 when they famously chased 329 with one wicket remaining against New Zealand at Bulawayo.
Now, even against a second-level Indian team, Zimbabwe are underdogs. With 138 matches, Taylor is the third most-capped player in the squad after Elton Chigumbura (145) and Prosper Utseya (144). Only two others, Hamilton Masakadza (121) and Vusi Sibanda (103) have played more than 50 ODIs.
Against India in ODIs, the breakdown of Zimbabwe's five most experienced players does not make for very promising reading. Taylor averages the best (46) from four matches against India, largely due to a top score of 81. In the same number of games, Masakadza averages 28 (best of 66); Sibanda has a best of 12 and averages 6.40 from five matches; Chigumbura has yet to be dismissed in two matches against India, from which he has scores of 16* and 24*; with the ball, offspinner Utseya has taken just three wickets from four games at an average of 52.
Lack of experience and exposure against top-level sides apart, Zimbabwe are also short of match-winning players.
Have your say: Do you think Zimbabwe can win a single ODI against India?