ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Australia v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad

Australian pace too much for Zimbabwe

The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill

February 21, 2011

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Australia 262 for 6 (Watson 79, Clarke 58*, Mpofu 2-58) beat Zimbabwe 171 (Cremer 37, Johnson 4-19, Tait 2-34) by 91 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shaun Tait knocks out Brendan Taylor's middle stump, Australia v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad, February 21, 2011
Shaun Tait's pace was too much for Zimbabwe as Australia surged to a 91-run win at Motera © Getty Images
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Australia began their World Cup campaign on a winning note, wrapping up an easy 91-run win over a Zimbabwean outfit that had no answer to the pace battery of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson, who finished as the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 19. Zimbabwe had put in a spirited display in the field to keep Australia to 262 for 6 on a good batting wicket, but they never looked like chasing the runs down once a positive opening stand between Charles Coventry and Brendan Taylor had been broken.

With Lee and Tait steaming in with the new ball, Zimbabwe's openers had every reason to be nervous but they quickly shed their early jitters - Coventry's flambuoyant flash over cover point being a particular highlight - and started to settle before Lee switched his length with immediate reward. Digging the ball in, he drew a false stroke from Coventry and an ungainly hook resulted in a top edge that Lee himself charged round to catch.

Brendan Taylor did his best to overcome the setback but the revival was short-lived and after Tatenda Taibu glided Johnson straight to slip Tait beat Taylor for pace, aiming one full and straight and pin-balling it off bat and pad to disturb his stumps. It was extreme speed that did for Craig Ervine, too, as he took his eyes off a Johnson bumper to wear one on the grille and was pinned on the pad in front of middle and leg by the very next ball. With the Umpire unwilling to send him on his way, a successful referral was asked for and Zimbabwe's chase quickly began to slide towards the mire at 44 for 4 in the 13th over.

Williams didn't look particularly comfortable against Johnson either, but he and Chigumbura did at least manage to survive the onslaught and slowly began to rebuild against Australia's second string. The chase derailed completely when Chigumbura gloved Jason Krejza to Haddin for 14 in the 22nd over and Zimbabwe's last hopes evaporated soon after, Williams wafting Tait to slip as the score sank to 96 for 6. Despite some stubborn resistance from Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer, there was no coming back from there.

Smart Stats

  • Australia scored just 28 runs in the first ten overs of their innings. Their lowest ever aggregate in the first ten overs since 2000 is 7 for 4 against South Africa in Cape Town in 2006.
  • Shane Watson, during the course of his 79, scored his 20th half-century in ODIs. In 28 matches since the beginning of 2010, he has scored one century and ten fifties at an average of 42.81.
  • Ricky Ponting was run out for the 30th time in ODIs, which is second only to Mark Waugh's 32 run-out dismissals among Australian batsmen. Ponting also holds the record for most run-out dismissals in Tests (14).
  • Ray Price, who picked up 1 for 43 off his ten overs, has a career economy rate of 3.87, which is the best among spinners who have bowled in at least 50 innings.
  • With their 91-run victory, Australia extended their undefeated streak in World Cups to 30 matches. Their last defeat in World Cups came against Pakistan in May 1999.
  • Mitchell Johnson finished with figures of 4 for 19 in 9.2 overs at an economy rate of 2.03. Among Australian bowlers who have bowled at least eight overs in an innings in a World Cup match, Shane Warne has the best economy rate of 1.10 against West Indies in 1999.
  • Ricky Ponting has now played in the most World Cup matches (40), going past Glenn Mcgrath, with whom he shared the previous record of 39 matches.

It had been a different story for Zimbabwe when they were in the field as some disciplined bowling and inspired fielding ensured Australia's batsmen never really got away from them. As has been the case so often in recent times, Shane Watson provided the bulk of the runs at the top of the order with a well-paced 79, while Michael Clarke guided their charge past 250 with an unbeaten 58.

Watson and Haddin made a strangely subdued start, and despite the admirable professionalism shown by Zimbabwe's attack one might have expected more than 28 runs to have come from the first Powerplay. While Chris Mpofu, the only specialist seamer in the side, maintained a disciplined off-stump line, Ray Price shared the new pill and also lived up to his unapologetically brusque reputation, laying into Watson before he'd even faced a ball.

The batsmen finally decided they had had enough of the wait-and-see tactic and broke loose with 17 off Mpofu's sixth over but Zimbabwe struck back when Utseya came on at the end of the first Powerplay. After an exemplary start to his spell - in which not a run was scored for the first nine deliveries he sent down - had his reward when Haddin stepped back to a flighted delivery and was struck in line with middle and leg. Umpire Asoka de Silva thought there might have been an inside edge, but Zimbabwe asked for a review - this being their first ever look at the UDRS - and had the decision over-turned.

After a quiet start to his innings Watson started to strike the ball with ominous force, lifting Cremer into the stands with a brutal pull, before he was removed by Zimbabwe's second fortuitous referral of the day. Stretching forward to a Cremer legbreak, Watson played with more pad than bat to prompt an emotive appeal. This time it was Umpire Richard Kettleborough who decided there was enough doubt to turn it down, but wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu insisted on a referral and Zimbabwe were rewarded with the result they wanted.

They were given a serious lift in the very next over as Ricky Ponting, in his first full international innings since his return from a finger injury, took on Mpofu's arm with a hard-run second as the ball rolled to midwicket. A pinpoint rocket throw hit the wicket directly to catch him well short to spark wild celebrations from Zimbabwe and with that Australia were 144 for 3. Clarke and Cameron White started their rebuilding effort cautiously and Zimbabwe never let the game get away from them, Mpofu recovering well from a cumbersome start to his spell at the death to rattle White's stumps and reduce Australia to 207 for 4.

David Hussey and Steve Smith came and went in quick succession but gave the innings some oomph while they were at the crease, both clearing the boundary with some powerful strokes. Clarke remained to guide Australia to a total which, while probably not as many as they would have hoped for, still proved far too much for a Zimbabwe line-up with precious little experience of facing express international fast bowling.

Match Timeline

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 73 
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Posted by Andrew on (February 23, 2011, 6:54 GMT)

@brisCricFan/HatsforBats - no worries re: your opinions on Haddin, I'm happy enough for him to open because I don't think he is suited to lower (#7), in the order. Maybe #4 or #5, he IS a good player of spin, so maybe in the middle order he could combat that. Personally I think we have MORE important issues down the order. I think bugger playing a spinner (unless Krezja really steps up big time), just play some part timers in short sharp spurts - so as the batsmen can't settle against them. I'd have D Hussey as our "lead" spinner, (would never have said that 6 mths ago!), with Smith, Pup & White chipping in. In dropping Krezja, I'd bring in Ferguson so that we have stacked the side with Batting resources, so maybe White can just unleash, or Haddin go mental at the top. Anyways sounds brilliant in theory, in real life we would be potentially exposed in Quality bowling resources!!!

Posted by Pondai on (February 23, 2011, 5:49 GMT)

I personally think that Regis Chakabva should have come in at 3 as he is a better player of pace than Taibu. Infact he sometimes opens the batting. Elty or Sean Williams would then come at 4 then Taibu at 5 so that he faces more spin overs. I tell you he is one of the best current players of spin and he can easily convert some of the singles into twos. As for the line up I think the same team should be maintained for the next match as I am a bit sceptical about Craig Lamb's batting. More bowling overs should just be allocated to Sean Williams to make up for the fifth bowler. Elty should also take responsibility as captain and retain his confidence as a bowler and take up one of the opening overs with the new ball. We all know how he destroyed Ausie in the famous Zim victory and how he bowled for his County side. If he does not take the all rounder role then we would rather have a genuine batsman in his place in the name of Forster, Hami, Gary balance or Chamu Chibhabha.

Posted by M on (February 23, 2011, 0:09 GMT)

@Meety - There is a feeling worldwide now though that keepers need to be able to bat high in the order or open... and to that measure, a second string keeper that is a better batsman is preferred ... case in point deVilliers/Boucher ... ... Haddin can hit big but he seems to have it in his head that he is only allowed to hit boundaries... he is suffering from not rotating the strike (to another huge hitter of the ball no less) and then gets bogged down and out to a rash shot trying to make up for his dot balls... ... and this looks ugly and doesn't really reflect his talent. ... if he has licence to go and you assume he has as that is the way he plays all his cricket, then he needs to hit the bad balls and place the good ones... something Gilly still managed. One has to think with Watson opening, Aus could do with a wall at the other end not a jack rabbit... Shame we didn't bring a real opener with us... Dare I add that M Hussey opens for WA in limited overs...

Posted by kieran on (February 22, 2011, 23:50 GMT)

@Meety I guess you're right re: Haddin's batting, and don't get me wrong cause I'm a big fan of his batting (when his brain is switched on), but for most of the summer he's been fairly inconsistent (the bris test was a false dawn). I would think that whilst we still have minnows to play that the line up could still be tinkered with. Or it might just be better to give everyone more time to get in form? Don't know

Posted by Andrew on (February 22, 2011, 22:52 GMT)

@HatsforBats - I think that it is because a W/k in terms of a batting resource is not as valuable in ODIs as the rest of the top order. The thinking (I think), is that they are to go on a seek & destroy mission at the top of the innings. Haddin (forgetting about the sluggishness of his Zim innings), has a stats that are comparable with Gilly (pls bear in mind that Haddin proportionally has batted down the order more than Gilly), albeit with a slightly lower S/R. Stats gure says as an opener he averages 46, with a S/R of 89 (the figures don't quite seem right but thats what came up). Haddin is well suited to hitting OVER the in-field which I think takes advantage of the Power Plays. As for Punter wanting him to play a big innings, I think thats Watto, Punters & Clarkes job. To me Haddin should just play his shots thru the first 10 to 15 overs - hopefully at a run a ball or better. I think we should be more worried about our middle order in White, Hussey & Smith.

Posted by Subba on (February 22, 2011, 17:41 GMT)

Australian pace too much for Zimbabwe and only for Zimbabwe. Let them try it against Bangladesh and they'll scurry for shelter!

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

Still a lot more required.... not a great win...

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 8:31 GMT)

Zimbabwe's batting looked completely inept technically. That attempted pull shot by coventry was the most ungamely looking pull attempt I have ever seen from a top order batsmen. Lee cant count on too many more wickets like that and will have to improve with more pace, movement and accuracy. Apart from that wicket it was actually Johnson who steadied the bowling side bowling a very tight line with good pace and movement which was just as well as Zimbabwe had actually started quite well. Tait bowled too short and was slightly overpitching his yorkers as was Lee. He was also a few K's underspeed compared to what he can bowl which wont do against quality batting lineups like South Africa and India. I would expect however that the coaching staff are managing their fast bowlers to peak against the better teams.

Posted by John on (February 22, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

Not sure how Cameron White made the WC squad given his poor performance against England and his seeming inability to cope with any kind of slow bowling. No doubt he is a dangerous 1 day cricketer but his form has been disasterous - he is a brilliant slipper but sluggish in the outfield. Dan Christian can consider himself extremely unlucky. Jason Krezja looked very good and could yet prove to be a world cup hero - he just needs to tighten his line slightly in India and Ponting needs to get the fields right. I thought his field to the left hander last night encouraged him to bowl wide of off with no infielder on the leg side. In India you need to bowl at and just outside off stump to because he will turn the ball and bowling a foot outside off stump gives too much room to cut off the slow predictible decks. And what's with no slip when Tait and Lee were bowling to tail enders who were clearly intimidated - most of their scoring shots were going to be behind the wicket anyway.

Posted by Rajaram on (February 22, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

Execellent, sensible, batting approach by the Aussies. Playing each ball on its merits, building a solid foundation, and launching the cannonball thjeteafter. 262 was a very good score. Shows a deep intelligent study of the opposition.No wham bam T20 hit out or get out.

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