Zim in famous win over Aus

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s national cricket team yesterday rolled back the years with a vintage display to stun Australia by three wickets, their first ODI win over the world number-one ranked side in 31 years.

Appearing in their first ever World Cup tournament three decades ago, the newly-independent nation of Zimbabwe shocked the cricketing world when they upset giants Australia by 13 runs at Nottingham in England in 1983 to announce their arrival on the world cricketing stage with some style.

How history tends to repeat itself.

Thirty-one years ago, on June 9 at Trent Bridge, it was the Zimbabwe captain who engineered the win with a man-of-the-match performance.

Stalwart Duncan Fletcher, now coach of India, scored an unbeaten half-century of 69* as the unheralded Zimbabweans totalled a competitive 239 before bowling out the Aussies for 226.

Yesterday, it was Zimbabwe’s ODI captain Elton Chigumbura whose unbeaten half-century (52*) steered Zimbabwe home after the bowlers had laid the foundation with a praiseworthy effort in conditions that gave the spin-bowlers assistance.

On a dry Harare Sports Club pitch, Zimbabwe’s spinners relished the challenge and duly choked Australia with extra turn and bounce to restrict them to 209-9.

Part-timer Sean Williams was particularly outstanding with 2-21 from his 10 overs while experienced off-spinner Prosper Utseya, who would later seal a famous win with a big six over deep mid-wicket, was also impressive with 2-45.

Ever-improving off-spinner John Nyumbu, who opened the bowling with seamer Donald Tiripano, took one wicket as did part-time spinner Malcolm Waller.

Tiripano took a brace of wickets.

“Definitely, we didn’t get enough runs,” Australia captain Michael Clarke, who top-scored with 68 after having earlier retired hurt, said. “Credit to Zimbabwe, they bowled well. The way they batted was outstanding. They deserved to win. Their spinners bowled well to us.”

Australia’s 209 seemed quite competitive in those kind of conditions, but Zimbabwe’s top-order, which had previously collapsed badly in this tri-series which also involve South Africa, gave the hosts a promising start, especially wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor who was aggressive for his 32 before off-spinner Nathan Lyon clean bowled him.

Lyon, Australia’s only recognised spinner, would then threaten to rock Zimbabwe’s chase with three more scalps.

But a record eighth wicket partnership against Australia between Chigumbura and Utseya (30 not out) would take Zimbabwe home with three wickets in hand to give the locals a rare victory and send the home crowd into zealous celebrations.

Chigumbura was particularly devastating yet calm in chase, smashing four boundaries from 68 balls.  

“I had to be there at the end,” the 28-year-old skipper said.

“The most important thing was to stay calm under pressure. Everyone contributed, which was good to see. The supporters were with us all the way.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.