Destructive Batting Sets Up Thumping Win For Australia

Glenn Maxwell raises his bat
Glenn Maxwell smashed 93 in just 45 balls for Australia
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia 350-6 (Maxwell 93, Marsh 89) beat
Zimbabwe 152 (Masakadza 70) by 198 runs
One-Day International tri-series, Harare

Some literally destructive batting from Australia helped them open the One-Day International tri-series in Zimbabwe with a thumping 198-run win over their hosts in Harare.

There were half-centuries for Aaron Finch (67), Mitchell Marsh (89) and Glenn Maxwell (93) before Mitchell Johnson smashed a six into the window of a commentary box during Australia's innings of 350 for six.

Hamilton Masakadza made 70 as Zimbabwe battled hard during their run chase before falling apart to be bowled out for 152 in 39.3 overs.

Steve Smith finished with three for 16 and there was a brace of wickets apiece for Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon.

This might have been Australia's first ODI since January but they produced a performance that belied such a lengthy absence from 50-over cricket.

After being put into bat by Zimbabwe, they wasted no time in hitting out, Finch hitting 67 in 79 balls and Brad Haddin 46 in 58 during a 98-run opening stand.

That set the tone and Mitchell Marsh came in and blasted seven fours and four sixes. After stand-in captain George Bailey fell for 14, though, Maxwell and Marsh added 109 together for the fourth wicket.

Maxwell played a superb innings, full of inventive shots include a reverse hit for six and a baseball-style flat-batted shot that flew flat over long-on for one of five maximums.

He also hit nine fours before he was well caught by Tinotenda Mawoyo at long-on off Tendai Chatara but the damage was done.

More literal damage was then done by Johnson, who in the course of his unbeaten 20 in 10 balls, drilled one six hard enough to shatter the glass in front of commentators Neil Manthorp and Pommie Mbangwa.

Chatara finished with two for 77 with John Nyumbu, Sean Williams and Elton Chigumbura taking a wicket apiece.

Australia struck quickly with the ball when Starc had Mawoyo trapped in front for one.

Masakadza then added 63 with Sikandar Raza (33) for the second wicket and another 19 with Brendan Taylor (10) for the third but then Australia began to run away with the game.

From 83 for two, Zimbabwe would lose their last eight wickets for just 69 runs, a slide that started when Taylor, Chigumbura (0) and Williams (1) departed in quick succession to leave them reeling at 88 for five.

Richmond Mutumbami stuck around for a while to make 11 but but after Masakadza, who faced 91 balls, fell in the 34th over, Zimbabwe's chances of even batting out 50 overs went with him.

Prosper Utseya (9), Tinashe Panyangara (1) and Nyumbu (1) fell cheaply to make it three heavy defeats for Zimbabwe in the space of a week following two thrashings at the hands of South Africa.

Marsh was named as the man of the match after taking the wicket of Williams to return one for 15 with Johnson and James Faulkner also taking a wicket apiece.

Australia play South Africa in game two of the competition on Wednesday (27th August) before Zimbabwe meet South Africa on Friday (29th August).

© Cricket World 2014