Australia A see off Zim XI


Zimbabwe XI slumped to a 90-run loss against Australia A in the opening match of the Coca Cola Triangular A series challenge on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe XI slumped to a 90-run loss against Australia A in the opening match of the Coca Cola Triangular A series challenge on Wednesday.

The tournament is an A-side triangular series involving Zimbabwe XI, Australia A and South Africa A.

Australia made 232 runs for eight and used their bowling attack to restrict the home side to 142 runs in 39 overs.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening spells by Chris Mpofu and Keagan Meth restricted the visitors to 32 for one after ten overs.

Straight lines and good length on any pitch particularly the Harare Sports club pitch will contain any top batting side and the pair held the fort for the first ten overs.

Mpofu was the first to strike with the early wickets of David Warner (1) and Aaron Finch (23). First to go was Warner who was caught at extra cover by Prosper Utseya in only the third over of the day. He was soon followed to the pavilion by fellow opener Finch who was trapped leg before wicket by Mpofu.

A third wicket partnership between vice-captain, Callum Ferguson (52), and Nic Maddinson (63) was the mainstay of the Australians total, rescuing them from a somewhat shaky start. The pair added 98 runs over a period of 17.3 overs.

Captain Tim Paine, came in to bat at number seven instead of his traditional opening position and finished off the innings with an unbeaten 37 from 40 balls, an important contribution to a batting line-up that had staggered to 190 for seven at one stage.

Best of the bowlers for Zimbabwe was Chris Mpofu with figures of three for 31 in ten overs.

Zimbabwe looked promising in the initial phases of the chase with newly appointed captain, Brendan Taylor and Vusi Sibanda opening the batting. Both openers seemed to cope with the tall seamers swinging the ball until a poorly timed stroke by Taylor failed to clear the bowler. Despite such a heavy blow Zimbabwe were still ahead of the pursuit for the first ten overs at 37 for one.

Sibanda partnered Hamilton Masakadza to build a 68 run partnership from 70 balls for the second wicket. Nathan Lyon slowed the tempo, catching Sibanda for 37 off his own bowling. Masakadza, who struggled with his form in the last season, scored the home sides' only milestone, finishing with a knock of 57 off 87 balls including four boundaries.

Australia were assured of victory when Zimbabwe lost five wickets for 46 runs at the hands of Lyon and John Hastings. Lyon got rid of Craig Ervine and Regis Chakabva. Hastings salvaged Zimbabwe's innings in the space of four balls, removing Elton Chigumbura and Forster Mutizwa, to reduce Zimbabwe to 122 for seven.

The tournament is structured in a round robin format in which each team will play both teams twice before qualification into the finals. Therefore Zimbabwe still has a chance to get a place in the final. Australia A will play against South Africa A at the Harare Sports club on Thursday.