Zimbabwe Hold Their Nerve To Beat Australia

Elton Chigumbura
Elton Chigumbura stroked an unbeaten half-century to help Zimbabwe clinch victory
©REUTERS / Action Images

Zimbabwe 211-7 (Chigumbura 52no) beat
Australia 209-9 (Clarke 68no) by three wickets
One-Day International tri-series, Harare

Zimbabwe held their nerve to beat Australia by three wickets in game four of the One-Day International tri-series in Harare, Prosper Utseya sealing victory with a six.

After restricting Australia to 209 for nine, Zimbabwe were made to work hard with the bat but an unbroken 54-run partnership between Utseya (30 not out) and Elton Chigumbura (52 not out) saw them home with two overs to spare.

They closed on 211 for six when Utseya lifted Mitchell Starc over the ropes at mid-wicket from the final ball of the 48th over.

This was Zimbabwe's first ODI win over Australia since 1983 - the first time the two teams met - and first win over Australia in any format since they beat them in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007.

Michael Clarke was fit enough to return for Australia, although he struggled during his innings of 68 not out, retiring during the innings before coming back towards the end.

Aside from Brad Haddin, who hit 49, and Ben Cutting, who hit 26 in 22 balls, Australia's batsmen struggled, and were in the main undone by Zimbabwe's spin bowlers.

Two wickets apiece for Utseya, Sean Williams, Donald Tiripano as well as one each for John Nyumbu and Malcolm Waller checked their progress and at one point they were 57 for four with the first four men to fall - Aaron Finch (1), Phil Hughes (10), George Bailey (1) and Glenn Maxwell (13) - succumbing to the spinners.

Rare Events - Zimbabwe beating Australia

June 1983, World Cup, Trent Bridge

Zimbabwe 239-6 beat
226-7 by 13 runs


September 2007, ICC WT20, Cape Town

Zimbabwe 139-5 beat
138-9 by five wickets


August 2014, Tri-Series, Harare

Zimbabwe 211-7 beat
209-9 by three wickets

Pacer Donald Tiripano then removed Mitchell Marsh for 15 and he would go on to remove Haddin later while Utseya had James Faulkner caught by Nyumbu one ball after Clarke retired.

Williams bowled Starc and Cutting was run out, meaning Clarke returned for the final two balls of the innings, and ended unbeaten on 68 in 102 balls with Nathan Lyon not out on eight in three balls.

Zimbabwe's top-order batsmen then all got themselves off to a start only to fail to go on, leaving the match in the balance.

Lyon took four for 44, removing Tinotenda Mawoyo for 15, Sikandar Raza for 22, Brendan Taylor for 32 and finally Sean Williams for four before he was bowled out.

Finch (0-19), Maxwell (1-41) and even Clarke himself (0-2) had a go as they tried to keep on top of Zimbabwe and they did enough thanks to Starc bowling Hamilton Masakadza for 18 and Maxwell having Waller caught and bowled for 11 to reduce them to 142 for six.

Tiripano was then bowled by Starc for three to make the score 156 for seven, bringing Chigumbura and Utseya together.

Chigumbura hit two early boundaries and Utseya also scored quickly - as they needed to - and once they became settled, there was nothing Australia could do to remove them.

With Lyon bowled out, and the seamers less of a threat, Clarke brought himself on to bowl the 47th over, and although he conceded just two runs, the game was almost gone by then.

Chigumbura reached his half-century, finishing on 52 in 61 balls, leaving Utseya, who hit two fours prior to launching the winning six, to complete the win.

© Cricket World 2014