Aussies wallop hapless Zimbabwe

HARARE - Australia broke a number of records on their way to an easy 100-run win over struggling hosts Zimbabwe in the ongoing Twenty20 triangular series yesterday.

The Baggy Greens’ merciless skipper Aaron Finch led from the front with a career best 172 which is now the second highest individual score in T20 cricket just three runs short of Chris Gayle’s 175.

Finch shared the first ever T20 opening double century partnership with fellow opener D’Arcy Short (48) and with that several records came tumbling.

That stand is now the highest T20 partnership, the highest T20 score by a single batsman, the longest T20 partnership in terms of balls and the highest percentage of runs scored by a single batsman in a T20 innings.

In the process, the Australians posted a commanding total of 229/2 in 20 overs and Zimbabwe’s chase was never going to trouble the visitors as they could only reach 129/9.

To make matters worse for he hosts, angry local fans also staged a protest at the famous Castle Corner where they waved placards calling for the “immediate resignation of the entire Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board”.

Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza had backed his bowlers to stop the rampant Australians but the early warning signals were there.

On Monday, the Baggy greens had defeated the highest-ranked T20 side Pakistan by posting a nine-wicket victory at the same venue.

After losing their first game of the series by 74 runs to Pakistan, Zimbabwe made one change with Chris Mpofu coming in for injured seamer Kyle Jarvis while Australia remained unchanged from the squad that delivered against Pakistan.

Mpofu went for 13,25 runs an over after conceding 53 runs in four overs while Blessing Muzarabani, who took two wickets, gave away 38 runs at an economic rate of 9,50 runs an over.

Finch smashed 16 fours and 10 sixes on his way to his record breaking T20 score from just 76 deliveries beating his previous best of 156.

In response, Zimbabwe openers Solomon Mire and Chamu Chibhabha made 28 and 18 runs respectively with Peter Moor adding 19 runs at number five.

Australian seamer Andrew Tye picked up three wickets for 12 runs in four overs while slow left arm spinner Ashton Agar took two wickets.

“It was nice to get a few in the middle, and break the record. It could have started better with the ball, so I thought we could’ve been more polished...,” Finch said after the match.

“I thought using the spinners was the right move on the surface. Short was good too, but we bowled well in the middle overs. This innings is right up there. They don't happen very often, so very pleased with it.”

Zimbabwe captain Masakadza said they conceded too many runs in the powerplay which should not have been the case.

“We thought it couldn’t get tougher than the first match, but here it was — got tougher. Credit to Finch, he struck it from the first ball,” Masakadza said.

“I think we can bowl a bit better. We’ve conceded far too many in the powerplay. We need someone to take a bit more responsibility. Boys started well with the bat. Tomorrow, let’s see if we can improve against Pakistan.”

Zimbabwe face Pakistan this morning hoping for nothing short of victory to boost their hopes of staying alive in the series.

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