Zimbabwe seal historic win over Australia
A cool, calm and collected half-century from captain Elton Chigumbura carried Zimbabwe to an almost unprecedented three-wicket victory over Australia in Sunday's key tri-series ODI at the Harare Sports Club.
A cool, calm and collected half-century from captain Elton Chigumbura carried Zimbabwe to an almost unprecedented three-wicket victory over Australia – in a key tri-series ODI.
The Zimbabweans had not trumped the Aussies in this format of the international game for more than 31 years prior to Sunday's feat at the Harare Sports Club.
Chigumbura and company, however, heartened all and sundry across the country – and, indeed, worldwide – with a collective performance that arguably outshone 9 June 1983's gem.
The Aussies gathered a modest total on the back of captain Michael Clarke's authoritative 68 not out. The vigil came at a cost, though, as Clarke will return home amid a recurring hamstring injury.
The home side, meanwhile, benefited from a bowling attack lined with slow bowlers. Conditions in Harare again proved conducive to turn and bounce, with left-armer Sean Williams the pick of the pack en route to comprehensive figures of two for 21.
The Australian total, in fact, would have read considerably less – were it not for a combative 49 from wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin, which included a trio of hefty sixes. All-rounders James Faulkner and Mitchell Starc, though, rued a mere duck and single respectively.
The pursuit endured a difficult start, as each of Zimbabwe's top top five batsmen cherished starts, but failed to convert to innings of Clarke- or Haddin-esque substance. The cheap dismissal of the dangerous Williams, too, proved worrying.
The recalled Nathan Lyon, who was peculiarly dropped for the key encounter against the South Africans earlier this week, took example from the hosts' spin bowlers, bowling with wile and guile to garner ODI career-best figures of four for 44.
Zimbabwe were in trouble after slipping to 156 for seven inside 39 overs, but Chigumbura and aspiring all-rounder Prosper Utseya refused to go down without a fight. The pair shared an unbroken 55-run alliance for the eighth wicket, thwarting Australia's bid for a quick, triumphant end.
Man of the Match Chigumbura amassed 52 not out to sidekick Utseya's unbeaten 30, with the latter at hand to strike a fat six over midwicket off the bowling of Starc to cap victory with a full 12 deliveries to spare.
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