Zimbabwe v Australia, Tri-series, Harare August 24, 2014

Different goals for mismatched sides

27

Match facts

Monday, August 25, 2014
Start time 0930 local (0730GMT)

Big picture

After a week of playing a fourth-ranked ODI team that has subsequently been bumped up to third, what is the last thing the bottom-ranked side (at least as far as Full Members are concerned) want to do? Play the No.1s. But Zimbabwe know that international cricket is more about what they have to do rather than what they want to, and taking on both Australia and South Africa is what they will spend the next four matches doing.

At least it will bring to 11 the number of ODIs they would have played in six weeks - a significant number to have a proper idea of where they stand as their preparations continue for next year's World Cup. The harsh reality is that Zimbabwe may not like where that is unless their fortune changes in this series.

Not only did they squander a series lead to share spoils with an Associate member - Afghanistan - but they were also thoroughly worked over by South Africa. For now, they do not show any signs of forcing their way into the final of the upcoming tri-series. They will remain hopeful that if all three of their departments click and click better than they have in recent times, they can cause upsets but will likely have to set mini targets, such as reaching scores over 250 or bowling sides out, as goals for the series.

Australia will not play any similar games within games. Michael Clarke is after a trophy - despite being ruled out of the first game with injury* - and he is unlikely to allow matters to meander in the way South Africa sometimes do. Australia have not played ODIs since their January series against England, but one can expect ruthlessness and aggression from them, even though some of it may be cleverly disguised as experimentation. From the No.1 ranked side in the world, there can be nothing less.

Form guide

Zimbabwe LLLLL (last five completed games, most recent first)
Australia WLWWW

In the spotlight

A whitewash at the hands of South Africa was not entirely unexpected but the progressive regression of the Zimbabwe players will put the focus on their coach Stephen Mangongo to see how he handles their recovery. Mangongo was one of the driving forces behind the players being swapped around against South Africa, so much so, that Zimbabwe's top-order has become unpredictable and unstable and the team lop-sided. The lower-order contributes more runs but lacks wicket-taking bite when it's needed most. How Mangongo strategises around this will be key for Zimbabwe over the next two weeks.

Mitchell Marsh has shown great potential ever since captaining Australia to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2009-10 but his opportunities in national colours have so far been limited. He will add to his tally of four ODIs during this series and with Shane Watson injured, it provides a terrific chance for Marsh to audition for a more long-term all-round role. He enters the series with some encouraging form behind him, including 211 in a first-class match against India A last month followed by 11 wickets at 20.00 in the quadrangular one-day tournament that followed.

Team news

Zimbabwe have named a 22-man squad for the series and it includes Brendan Taylor, who is expected to return to the No. 4 position after being dramatically dropped for the final ODI against South Africa last week. Sikandar Raza may return to open with Richmond Mutumbami with Hamilton Masakadza coming in at No.3. Test seamer Tinashe Panyangara made his return against South Africa after being rested following his Test workload and could be joined by Tendai Chatara which will leave Zimbabwe with a question over who to use as a lower-order allrounder. Teenager Luke Jongwe is one option, Shingi Masakadza is another. They may also bench Prosper Utseya as he awaits testing over his action and give legspinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi another chance.

Zimbabwe: (probable) 1 Sikandar Raza, 2 Richmond Mutumbami (wk), 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 7 Luke Jongwe/Shingi Masakadza 8 Prosper Utseya/Tafadzwa Kamungozi, 9 John Nyumbu, 10 Tendai Chatara,11 Tinashe Panyangara

With David Warner out of the series on paternity leave and Clarke unable to overcome a hamstring problem, Phillip Hughes would have hoped for an opportunity to translate his A-team form into success on the international stage. However, he found himself named 12th man when Australia announced their team in advance*, with Darren Lehmann saying they had "opted to go with the spin option of Nathan Lyon along with the extra allrounder to add further depth to our batting". Quite how they will line up, with only one genuine opener in Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh coming in to an experimental middle order, remains to be seen.

Australia: 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 George Bailey (capt), 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Kane Richardson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Nathan Lyon.

Pitch and conditions

The action moves back to Harare Sports Club which has had almost two weeks rest after the Test between Zimbabwe and South Africa earlier in the month. The surfaces can be expected to be a little more lively than Bulawayo's slow and sometimes turning strips, with a bit of juice for the quicks in the morning. Hot sunshine should flatten the pitch out later in the day when runs will be plentiful. Zimbabwe has leapfrogged spring and stepped straight into summer with temperatures approaching 30 degrees.

Stats and trivia

  • Zimbabwe have only defeated Australia once in the 28 ODIs they have played against them. That was in their first match at the World Cup in June 1983 when Zimbabwe won a tense affair by 13 runs as Duncan Fletcher bowled them to a historic win.
  • The last time these two teams met each other was at the 2011 World Cup. Before that, they had not played an ODI against each other since 2004.
  • Brad Haddin made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 2001, before any of the current Zimbabwe squad were playing international cricket.

Quotes

"It doesn't intimidate me. Coaching does not intimidate me at all. Records are meant to be broken. It's a new game, it's a new day, it's a new chapter. It's XI versus XI and you have to respect your opposition."
Speaking before the one-day series against South Africa, Zimbabwe's coach Stephen Mangongo said he was unafraid of his side taking on two of the best teams in the world

"Michael had a fitness test at training today and unfortunately hasn't come through that well enough to be available for selection in game one. He will continue intensive treatment on his hamstring and we'll monitor his progress ahead of game two on Wednesday."
Darren Lehmann hopes to have Clarke back soon

*August 24, 17.30 GMT: Story updated to reflect news of Michael Clarke's failed fitness test

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vis0121 on August 25, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @Scott if you saw the team yesterday I think they where a bowler light.Johnson can be all over the place when he did not play for some time.the team that is shown today a lot better regarding the bowlers.but a lot of allrounders. my team with Clark out: Finch,Hughes,Bailey,Haddin,Marsh,Maxwell,Faulkner,Johnson,Starc,Richardson,Lyon.

  • millsy24 on August 25, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Is the captain still one of the selectors on away tours? I know Hohns is there, Boof will be another one and I am fairly sure the captain also acts as selector. That's what I find interesting. Yesterday Boof said that Hughes will open with Finch if Clarke was ruled out. Today, Clarke gets ruled out and Bailey takes over as captain and now Hughes is not selected.

  • Biggus on August 25, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Well, I'm officially confused as well. I've always had my reservations about Phil Hughes but the guy has been making a mountain of runs and you're supposed to pick someone when that happens. Anyway...........I'm with @dunger.bob, Woo Hoo, we're finally going to get some cricket. I need cricket to watch now that I've hung up my boots just like I need oxygen to breathe. The season is nearly upon us..........I can hear strains of George Harrison's 'Here comes the sun' in my mind, let the games commence!

  • Swan_Draught on August 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx if we're using First Class records for ODI selections then how does Finch get a game? Averaged less than 20 with the bat in each of the last three shield seasons

  • D-Train on August 25, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Makes no sense leaving Hughes out. Lehmann said himself the blokes are rusty, yet here's a guy who's been playing lots of cricket the last two months and is in great form. Big mistake. Having said that it won't matter against Zimbabwe.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 25, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    I understand that the Marsh brothers have talent, but by gee, Lehmann always seems to want to push them into the side even when their form doesn't warrant it. Yes, Mitch Marsh has had a good pre-season and started well last year, but he still averages 28 in FC cricket with only two hundreds. If that's the future of Australian cricket, god help us.

    I'm not saying he isn't talented, but for me he needs another three to four YEARS in domestic cricket before we can be about 85% sure that he will succeed in International cricket. Trying to get him in to the world cup squad in the hope he will be a gun player is a forlorn dream.

  • Swan_Draught on August 25, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    If Finch were Captain we'd have 9 bowling options!

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 25, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    Aus should W toss and bat 1st. Thats the only way we are going to have a game of reasonable length.Or this 'odi' game could be all over in 40 overs,not worth the money paid by specs hoping for a full days game.

  • CricketChat on August 25, 2014, 1:00 GMT

    To all my friends who like Zim thrashings thinking it will help them become better. SA thrashing is just done. Here comes another.. Enjoy it!

  • bren19 on August 25, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    @vis0121 - I agree in that the Australian team always looks a bowler light to me when Lyon is named in the squad

  • vis0121 on August 25, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @Scott if you saw the team yesterday I think they where a bowler light.Johnson can be all over the place when he did not play for some time.the team that is shown today a lot better regarding the bowlers.but a lot of allrounders. my team with Clark out: Finch,Hughes,Bailey,Haddin,Marsh,Maxwell,Faulkner,Johnson,Starc,Richardson,Lyon.

  • millsy24 on August 25, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Is the captain still one of the selectors on away tours? I know Hohns is there, Boof will be another one and I am fairly sure the captain also acts as selector. That's what I find interesting. Yesterday Boof said that Hughes will open with Finch if Clarke was ruled out. Today, Clarke gets ruled out and Bailey takes over as captain and now Hughes is not selected.

  • Biggus on August 25, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Well, I'm officially confused as well. I've always had my reservations about Phil Hughes but the guy has been making a mountain of runs and you're supposed to pick someone when that happens. Anyway...........I'm with @dunger.bob, Woo Hoo, we're finally going to get some cricket. I need cricket to watch now that I've hung up my boots just like I need oxygen to breathe. The season is nearly upon us..........I can hear strains of George Harrison's 'Here comes the sun' in my mind, let the games commence!

  • Swan_Draught on August 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx if we're using First Class records for ODI selections then how does Finch get a game? Averaged less than 20 with the bat in each of the last three shield seasons

  • D-Train on August 25, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Makes no sense leaving Hughes out. Lehmann said himself the blokes are rusty, yet here's a guy who's been playing lots of cricket the last two months and is in great form. Big mistake. Having said that it won't matter against Zimbabwe.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 25, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    I understand that the Marsh brothers have talent, but by gee, Lehmann always seems to want to push them into the side even when their form doesn't warrant it. Yes, Mitch Marsh has had a good pre-season and started well last year, but he still averages 28 in FC cricket with only two hundreds. If that's the future of Australian cricket, god help us.

    I'm not saying he isn't talented, but for me he needs another three to four YEARS in domestic cricket before we can be about 85% sure that he will succeed in International cricket. Trying to get him in to the world cup squad in the hope he will be a gun player is a forlorn dream.

  • Swan_Draught on August 25, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    If Finch were Captain we'd have 9 bowling options!

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 25, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    Aus should W toss and bat 1st. Thats the only way we are going to have a game of reasonable length.Or this 'odi' game could be all over in 40 overs,not worth the money paid by specs hoping for a full days game.

  • CricketChat on August 25, 2014, 1:00 GMT

    To all my friends who like Zim thrashings thinking it will help them become better. SA thrashing is just done. Here comes another.. Enjoy it!

  • bren19 on August 25, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    @vis0121 - I agree in that the Australian team always looks a bowler light to me when Lyon is named in the squad

  • on August 25, 2014, 0:06 GMT

    @vis0121 How are australia a bowler light? 4 bowlers, 4 all-rounders. Johnson, Starc, Richardson, Lyon are the bowlers. Faulkner, Marsh, Maxwell, Smith are the all rounders. That's 8 bowling options. So, please could you tell us how Australia are "a bowler light"?

  • MeijiMura on August 25, 2014, 0:03 GMT

    Zimbabwe's best chance of beating Australia is actually to win the toss and bowl first, not bat. It is always difficult to get through the first 25 overs or so and even if many wickets aren't lost the run rate is generally quite low (slow) before it starts getting easier to bat on later in the day. Zimbabwe would want to bowl first, get whatever assistance from the pitch they can and bowl in the right areas while fielding well against an underdone opponent who might play some rash strokes and who have a batting line-up short of proper batsmen and top heavy with all-rounders. Then with conditions at their best for batting in the afternoon the Zimbabwean batsmen can look to cash in on some bad balls from some rusty bowlers and some lethargy in the field. As the series progresses it will only get more difficult for Zimbabwe, so its now or never for them. Meanwhile, with Mangongo insisting on playing people in specialist positions why does he persist with Mutumbani as an opening batsman?

  • drfarnsworth on August 24, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    If they don't want to play Hughes, even when a perfect chance is there, why bring him at all? He should be back in Australia preparing for the home summer. Bailey has an amazing record in the middle order, so why mess around with him as opener?

  • millsy24 on August 24, 2014, 23:15 GMT

    We aren't a bowler light, we are a batsman light if anything. If Finch does his usual and plays 1 good game in every 3 and gets out early who have we got? Bailey, Smith and Haddin to calm things down. Maxwell will get out playing some ridiculous shot because he does it all the time. Faulkner will slog and get out. They obviously wanted to get Marsh into the team and someone had to go for him and that was Hughes. Lehmann had said publicly that if Clarke was not fit to play then Hughes would be opening with Finch. Bit dumb having two bowling allrounders in the one team who both bowl well but are nowhere near the best 5 bowlers in the country.

  • Troyd on August 24, 2014, 22:14 GMT

    Will be confused and annoyed if Mutumbani doesn't continue as an opener. I understand the experiment hasn't worked .. yet - but #1&2 are troubled spots for us and he was looking like a decent batsman. For me it will be premature to abandon the idea.

    Chatara needs to be given a chance - and not rotated out of he doesn't get a 5-for.

    I would like to see Jongwe continue as well - and Chigumbura rested/dropped, but obviously that cant happen.

    Good luck Zim!!

  • on August 24, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    @vis0121 how can 2 of the quickest in the world not be threatening enough, they then have to try and attack Lyon who will not give away much, and Richardson is a gun bowler too. Faulkner, Marsh, Maxwell and Smith can easily build up another 10 overs as bowlers so where in their bowling attack r they light?

  • ZCFOutkast on August 24, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    @vis0121 A bowler light? I'm struggling to understand how you think 20 focused overs Johnson and Starc won't be enough to decimate ZIM?! Now you want to throw in Richardson as well?

  • vis0121 on August 24, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    Zim must bat first to have any chance.Aus looks a bowler light. Johnson and Starc only threat, Lyon not the best spinner around, Faulkner a all-rounder that can go for runs, Smith and Maxwell to make up the 5th. take out Smith or Faulkner and bring in a bowler, maybe Richardson.

  • Swan_Draught on August 24, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    It's really odd trying to figure out where Hughes is at. He got a Cricket Australia contract yet doesn't appear to be in either the test or the ODI team. Shaun Marsh did as well but I think Marsh is in the selectors thoughts as a contender for the world cup team.

    So he has a contract yet they don't appear to want to play him.

    Doolan did not get a cricket australia contract and was just average in South Africa and has limited upside. I'm not convinced Hughes isn't ahead of him in regards to the test team.

  • dunger.bob on August 24, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I like ZCFOutkast's observation that Hughes may as well retire if he doesn't get a run this time. It's one of those tragic things that are funny because they're actually true.

  • Swan_Draught on August 24, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    1.Finch 2. Hughes 3.M.Marsh 4.Bailey* 5.Smith 6.Maxwell 7.Haddin+ 8.Johnson 9.Starc 10.Richardson 11.Lyon

  • onlinegamer55 on August 24, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Why does Lehmann seem to be against Hughes playing ever since he came on as coach? I don't understand this. For a guy who everyone praises as "helping them enjoy the game", he seems to be pretty ruthless in dropping players, which surely can't help them enjoy the game. Sorry for the rant but I really hope Hughes is selected. He WILL score runs if given a chance, which he is simply not being allowed.

  • dillyk on August 24, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    There was a time not to long ago before politics and stupidity ruined zim cricket that the zim team would have fancied their chances to pull of an upset especially in ODI format......... at least fans like ZCFOutkast are satisfied now

  • xtrafalgarx on August 24, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    @Mariuspontmercy94: Boof seems reluctant to play Hughes for some reason. Also they had Mitch Marsh bat three in a practice game the other day, not sure if that's a clue. I would opt for Maxwell or Smith at no.3.

    As bob said, good to be finally seeing some international cricket for an Aussie point of view. Still a few months away from our first test though =(.

  • ZCFOutkast on August 24, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    I guess this series presents a chance for ZImbabwe's "best" batsmen to front up first up against the best attack now doesn't it! Would be a pity if Utseya can't make it, but Panyangara takign the pace off the ball is the best option. None of the young spinners&seamers make sense against a full strength AUS&SA

    Taylor, Williams, Raza, Hami, Vusi, Chigumbura(c), Mutumbami(wk), Vitori, Panyagara/Utseya, Chatara, Nyumbu

    If some of the noises made about Haddin's record as an opener, and him being an option there are to be taken seiously, then Hughes definately has a lot to worry about, unless of course hit or miss Finch proves to be a miss in the first coupple of games. If Clarke is fit then Australia may just drop Hughes, make Haddin open with Finch, and slot Mitchell Marsh into the middle order. If Clarke is unfit&Hughes still misses out(in Shaun marsh&Watson's absence), then Hughes must retire!

    Finch, Hughes, Clarke(c), Bailey, Smith, Maxwell, Haddin(wk), Johnson, Faulkner, Starc, Lyon

  • MariusPontmercy94 on August 24, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    I wonder what will happen if Clarke isn't fit to play? I'd guess Maxwell to 3, Smith to 5, Haddin to 6, and Marsh in at 7.

  • dunger.bob on August 24, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Finally, we're playing some cricket again. Woohoo.

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  • dunger.bob on August 24, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Finally, we're playing some cricket again. Woohoo.

  • MariusPontmercy94 on August 24, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    I wonder what will happen if Clarke isn't fit to play? I'd guess Maxwell to 3, Smith to 5, Haddin to 6, and Marsh in at 7.

  • ZCFOutkast on August 24, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    I guess this series presents a chance for ZImbabwe's "best" batsmen to front up first up against the best attack now doesn't it! Would be a pity if Utseya can't make it, but Panyangara takign the pace off the ball is the best option. None of the young spinners&seamers make sense against a full strength AUS&SA

    Taylor, Williams, Raza, Hami, Vusi, Chigumbura(c), Mutumbami(wk), Vitori, Panyagara/Utseya, Chatara, Nyumbu

    If some of the noises made about Haddin's record as an opener, and him being an option there are to be taken seiously, then Hughes definately has a lot to worry about, unless of course hit or miss Finch proves to be a miss in the first coupple of games. If Clarke is fit then Australia may just drop Hughes, make Haddin open with Finch, and slot Mitchell Marsh into the middle order. If Clarke is unfit&Hughes still misses out(in Shaun marsh&Watson's absence), then Hughes must retire!

    Finch, Hughes, Clarke(c), Bailey, Smith, Maxwell, Haddin(wk), Johnson, Faulkner, Starc, Lyon

  • xtrafalgarx on August 24, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    @Mariuspontmercy94: Boof seems reluctant to play Hughes for some reason. Also they had Mitch Marsh bat three in a practice game the other day, not sure if that's a clue. I would opt for Maxwell or Smith at no.3.

    As bob said, good to be finally seeing some international cricket for an Aussie point of view. Still a few months away from our first test though =(.

  • dillyk on August 24, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    There was a time not to long ago before politics and stupidity ruined zim cricket that the zim team would have fancied their chances to pull of an upset especially in ODI format......... at least fans like ZCFOutkast are satisfied now

  • onlinegamer55 on August 24, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Why does Lehmann seem to be against Hughes playing ever since he came on as coach? I don't understand this. For a guy who everyone praises as "helping them enjoy the game", he seems to be pretty ruthless in dropping players, which surely can't help them enjoy the game. Sorry for the rant but I really hope Hughes is selected. He WILL score runs if given a chance, which he is simply not being allowed.

  • Swan_Draught on August 24, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    1.Finch 2. Hughes 3.M.Marsh 4.Bailey* 5.Smith 6.Maxwell 7.Haddin+ 8.Johnson 9.Starc 10.Richardson 11.Lyon

  • dunger.bob on August 24, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I like ZCFOutkast's observation that Hughes may as well retire if he doesn't get a run this time. It's one of those tragic things that are funny because they're actually true.

  • Swan_Draught on August 24, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    It's really odd trying to figure out where Hughes is at. He got a Cricket Australia contract yet doesn't appear to be in either the test or the ODI team. Shaun Marsh did as well but I think Marsh is in the selectors thoughts as a contender for the world cup team.

    So he has a contract yet they don't appear to want to play him.

    Doolan did not get a cricket australia contract and was just average in South Africa and has limited upside. I'm not convinced Hughes isn't ahead of him in regards to the test team.

  • vis0121 on August 24, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    Zim must bat first to have any chance.Aus looks a bowler light. Johnson and Starc only threat, Lyon not the best spinner around, Faulkner a all-rounder that can go for runs, Smith and Maxwell to make up the 5th. take out Smith or Faulkner and bring in a bowler, maybe Richardson.