ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Australia v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad
Confusion with team sheets and some stubborn bails
ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the World Cup, Group A match between Australia and Zimbabwe at Motera
February 21, 2011
Confusion of the day
The television coverage created some drama before a ball had been bowled, with the commentators discussing Australia's decision to leave Shaun Tait out of the team. There was only one problem: Tait was playing. It even sparked confusion in the Australian dressing-room, as the official team sheet was checked to ensure there wasn't a mistake. They breathed a sigh of relief when they saw Tait's name listed, and after several minutes of uncertainty the TV coverage rectified its team lists. The Zimbabwe side was also wrong - Greg Lamb's name was on the screen in the starting XI, but he was ill and was not part of the team.
Quick learners of the day
Zimbabwe had never before played in a match where the UDRS was being used, and the fourth official Simon Taufel spoke to the players in the lead-up to the game, to explain the finer details of how it works. There were reportedly some baffled looks around the playing group, and the only questions asked came from the always outgoing Ray Price. But when it came to the crunch, their captain Elton Chigumbura employed the system perfectly in the field, winning two overturned decisions from two attempts. An lbw appeal against Brad Haddin was denied by Asoka de Silva, but the replays showed Prosper Utseya's delivery would have hit the stumps, and later Graeme Cremer won an lbw wicket after Richard Kettleborough turned down a shout against Shane Watson.
Ricochet of the day
Haddin had already had a life. He could so easily have been back in the pavilion on 16 when he got an inside edge onto his leg and the ball bounced back to hit the stumps. However, despite clipping the wood with reasonable force, the ball couldn't dislodge a bail. Tatenda Taibu leapt in frustration behind the stumps, and Haddin could do little but raise his eyebrows in relief. He only added another 13 runs from a further 23 deliveries, though, and his habit of making starts without going on to post big scores will continue to be a source of bother for the Australians.
Throw of the day
The Zimbabweans aren't exactly renowned for their magnificent fielding, so it was understandable that Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke hustled back for two runs when Clarke clipped the ball to deep midwicket. But in one of those memorable moments of individual brilliance, Chris Mpofu fired the ball flat and fast towards the bowler's end, hitting the stumps from side-on and from three quarters of the way to the boundary. It caught Ponting just short and the throw had to be perfect - had it not been a direct hit, the bowler Sean Williams would hardly have had time to whip off the bails with Ponting out of his ground.
Regret of the day
While Australia's middle order was struggling to lift its tempo against Zimbabwe's spinners, reports were emerging from Perth that Michael Hussey had trained so well on Sunday that Western Australia wanted to play him in the Sheffield Shield match that began on Monday. Hussey was originally a key man in Australia's World Cup plans but was replaced due to a hamstring injury that they feared would not be fixed in time for Australia's opening games. There were also reports that selector Greg Chappell had told the 35-year-old Hussey he should retire, although Chappell has strongly denied the claim. Either way, Australia would have loved to have Hussey to tackle Zimbabwe's slow bowlers. As it turned out, he decided against playing the Shield match, choosing instead to stick to the recovery schedule originally set down for him by Cricket Australia.
Shot of the day
If Australia thought their all-out pace was going to frighten Zimbabwe's openers, they would have been surprised by Charles Coventry's early approach. It took only until the fourth over for Coventry to launch a flat smash over point off Lee, and he struck it so well that it easily cleared the boundary. The ball wasn't short, but Coventry lifted it with a square drive that could just about have killed if it connected with a member of the crowd. Sadly for Zimbabwe's fans, there wasn't much more in the armoury.
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