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Cricket Match Predictions: Divided Australia lose to Zimbabwe at 1983 Prudential World Cup

Duncan Fletcher 69* for Zimbabwe in their infamous win over Australia

In our new feature series - Who would have predicted that? – we are looking back at matches where there were big upsets or extraordinary individual performances that turned matches on their head.


On a day when news was dominated by Margaret Thatcher's re-election, Zimbabwe - playing their first one-day international in World Cup history - beat Australia by 13 runs at Trent Bridge. 


The tournament being played across 15 different venues, saw each team in a group play each other twice (double round-robin). Each match was of 60-overs per side. Similar to the previous two World Cups, eight teams (7 full members and Zimbabwe) sported traditional white clothing and played with red ball.


Match Summary


Zimbabwe 239/6(60 Overs) - Iain Butchart*34 (38), Duncan Fletcher*69 (84); Dennis Lillee2/47 (12), Graham Yallop2/28 (9)


Australia 226/7(60 Overs) - Rod Marsh*50 (42), Kepler Wessels76 (130); Kevin Curran1/38 (9), Duncan Fletcher4/42 (11)


Result - Zimbabwe won by 13 runs


Zimbabwe, who had qualified by winning the ICC Trophy a year earlier, were in a group with Australia, India and West Indies. The team played in their first match against an Australian team which had some big names like Kepler Wessels, Kim Hughes, Allan Border, Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson but were neither gelled together nor had any practice coming into the World Cup.


Zimbabwe batted first and were reduced to 94 for 5. Then came Zimbabwe captain Duncan Fletcher at the crease. Although he did not take the aggressive route, he occupied the crease well and led the team's recovery with them finishing on to 239 for 6. 


Iain Butchart also scored a few quick runs towards the end, adding 34 off 38, which included a hit off Jeff Thomson over the sight screen for six.


Fall of Wickets: 55-1 (G Paterson, 0), 55-2 (A Shah, 0), 86-3 (J Heron, 0), 86-4 (D Houghton, 0), 94-5 (A Pycroft, 0), 164-6 (K Curran, 0)


 As impressive as Zimbabwe's recovery had been, everyone expected Australia to chase 240 in 60 overs - especially after Wessels and Graeme Wood laid the platform with a 61-run opening partnership. However, the Zimbabweans bowled tidily. John Traicos was especially economical: his 12 overs went for just 27 runs.


Australia were going well at 114 for 2 when all-rounder Fletcher, who had taken two wickets in his first spell, returned and nipped out two more - he finished with 4 for 42. With 10 overs left, Australia needed 81. Allan Border's dismissal added to the pressure, and it came down to 53 off five. It was all too much and they finished 13 runs short.


The key wicket fell when Wessels was run out for 76 by a direct hit from Jack Heron. Although Rod Marsh made a quick 50 not out, Australia ran out of overs and finished on 226 for 7.


Fall of Wickets: 61-1 (G Wood, 0), 63-2 (K Hughes, 0), 114-3 (D Hookes, 0), 133-4 (G Yallop, 0), 138-5 (K Wessels, 0), 168-6 (A Border, 0), 176-7 (G Lawson, 0)


Zimbabwe went on to lose all their remaining five matches, but not before fighting hard against Australia at Southampton, and India at Tunbridge Wells.




Australia - Graeme Wood, Kepler Wessels, Kim Hughes (c), David Hookes, Graham Yallop, Allan Border, Rod Marsh (wk), Geoff Lawson, Rodney Hogg, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson 


Zimbabwe - Ali Shah, Grant Paterson, Jack Heron, Andy Pycroft, Dave Houghton (wk), Duncan Fletcher (c), Kevin Curran, Iain Butchart, Peter Rawson, John Traicos, Vince Hogg


Match Details


Match: AUS vs ZIM, 3rd Match, Prudential World Cup, 1983

Date: Thursday, June 09, 1983

Toss: Australia won the toss and opt to bowl

Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Umpires: David Constant, Mervyn Kitchen


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