HomeSportCricketZim end 31-year wait

Zim end 31-year wait


IN the 30th one-day international (ODI) meeting between these sides, Zimbabwe did what they had not for 31 years and beat Australia.

The captain Elton Chigumbura engineered the chase that changed 11 406 days of history, after his spinners had applied a stranglehold that kept Australia to their lowest total against Zimbabwe, and achieved only their second win against these opponents.

Chigumbura’s opposite number, Michael Clarke, battled a hamstring niggle that ruled him out of the rest of the tri-series, and held his side together on a spin-friendly surface on which none of the other Australian batsmen settled.

But Zimbabwe’s challenge was always going to be chasing a total over 200 – they were dismissed for less in their last four ODIs – and when Nathan Lyon picked up career-best figures and they were reduced to 156 for seven, another collapse seemed likely.

A 55-run stand between Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya for the eighth wicket ensured Zimbabwe did not fold and sent Harare Sports Club into frenzied celebration.

The dancing in the stands had begun in the morning when Zimbabwe reduced Australia to 39 for three. John Nyumbu bowled Aaron Finch, Prosper Utseya had Phillip Hughes caught at slip, and Sean Williams bowled George Bailey to give Zimbabwe early control.

Clarke was still there but needed a partner to rebuild and could not find one in Glenn Maxwell, despite him being the recipient of the first of five let-offs from Zimbabwe.

Maxwell was on 13 when he edged Malcolm Waller as he tried to drive but Brendan Taylor could not hold on. Fortunately for Zimbabwe, Waller bowled him with his next delivery to ensure no harm was done from that missed chance.

They could not say the same about all the others. Mitchell Marsh had not scored when he flicked Nyumbu to short leg but Tino Mawoyo put down the chance.

Marsh added 40 runs with Clarke, although he only contributed 15. Brad Haddin should have been out on five, but Waller dropped a return catch from a top-edge, on 14 when Chatara fluffed a chance in his follow-through, and on 17 when Chatara put down an easier opportunity at short fine leg.

Amid all of that, Clarke brought up his 50 off 80 balls, but left the field on 68 in the 43rd over because of hamstring trouble. That gave Zimbabwe the opening they wanted and they stormed through. Utseya had James Faulkner caught at slip off the first ball he faced and Williams bowled Mitchell Starc through the gate in the next over to leave Australia 150 for seven.

Only Cutting’s cameo at No 10, Haddin’s 49 and Chigumbura using seamers at the end instead of spinners took Australia over 200, but this time it was not enough, especially because their attack was without Mitchell Johnson, who was rested.

– ESPNcricinfo

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