Zimbabwe A Team Tri-Series June 29, 2011

Australia A off to winning start

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia A 232 for 8 (Maddinson 63, Ferguson 52, Mpofu 3-31) beat Zimbabwe XI 142 (Masakadza 57, Hastings 3-22, Lyon 4-22) by 90 runs

Australia A surged to a 90-run win over Zimbabwe XI in the opening match of the A Team Tri-Series on a bright, sunny day at Harare Sports Club. Half-centuries from Nic Maddinson and Callum Ferguson carried the Australians to 232 for 8 and Zimbabwe XI reached 94 for 1 in reply before offspinner Nathan Lyon's introduction prompted a dramatic collapse. John Hastings scythed through the lower order and Zimbabwe XI slumped to 142 all out with 11 overs remaining, much to the disappointment of the spectators who had been tempted in by the prospect of free entrance to the game.

The Zimbabweans had put in a far more spirited performance with the ball than they did with the bat, seamer Chris Mpofu leading the way in a tight seven-over opening spell that yielded the wickets of openers David Warner and Aaron Finch. Australia A were 33 for 2 with Finch's dismissal, but recovered through a 98-run stand - the highest of the match - between Maddinson and Ferguson as Zimbabwe's spinners uncharacteristically failed to exert any pressure.

Zimbabwe got the breakthrough when Maddinson was tempted out of his crease by Prosper Utseya's flight and stumped for 63, and Mpofu then returned the attack to have Ferguson caught behind shortly after bringing up his fifty for this third wicket. The Zimbabweans continued to chip away at the lower order, and with runs not easy to come by on a spongy, early-season wicket Australia A were thankful for captain Tim Paine's unbeaten 37, which ensured a competitive total.

In the event, it was more than enough. Brendan Taylor started well but chipped a return catch back to Luke Butterworth to be out for 17 in his first match as captain. It still looked as though Zimbabwe XI would make a fist of their chase in the course of Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza's patient 62-run partnership for the second wicket, but Lyon struck in his first over, removing Sibanda for 37, and from then on Australia A never lost their grip.

Lyon took the heart out of the middle order with the wickets of Regis Chakabva, for an eight-ball duck, and Craig Ervine, and Hastings then put paid to Zimbabwe XI's hopes of salvaging the innings in the space of four deliveries. After a frugal first spell, Hastings was brought back on and removed former national captain Elton Chigumbura and Forster Mutizwa with consecutive deliveries.

Utseya survived the hat-trick ball but was pinned in front of his stumps immediately afterwards to give Hastings his third wicket of the over and reduce Zimbabwe XI to 122 for 7. Masakadza brought up a fighting half-century but Lyon returned to get rid of allrounder Keegan Meth for his fourth wicket, and the win was quickly wrapped up thereafter.

Australia A, who face South Africa A at the same venue on Thursday, picked up a bonus point to take their tally for the match to 5, while Zimbabwe XI remain pointless.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    can any1 plzzz tell me why taibu didnt feature in the game ?

  • Mo on July 1, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    Elton needs a rest during this season & lets get back Taibu, Chibhaba & Coventry.Regis & Foster need more time to show their mettle. Raza Butt is the answer to our batting woes.

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Zimbabwe should have won that match! Mpofu did a splendid job leading the bowling , despite the spinners leaking runs- meth want too far off the mark either! But the batting was just too tentative , Taylor and Chibhabha are the nest opening par in one dayers , Vusi is a good number 3 bat in the longer version , masakadza should stay where he is , but please no more defensiveness - I'm a zim fan through an through but this see saw of being in strong positions and flattering to deceive won't help my blood pressure. Zim has nothing to loose- I saw these guys almost chase down bigger targets against south Africa , not the A side bit the big boys , coz they were playing confidently- a little more ofmthat gusto would do nicely. Chigumbira should maybe take a siesta next match , where is solander Raza?! What about James Cameron , Gary balance and co , are they under consideration for selection?

  • Pondai on June 30, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Forster is a good domestic player just like Tino mawoyo but they still have a long way to go when it comes to international cricket. An injured or off form Taibu is better than these two and he is our best player of spin anywhere. The selectors might have considered that Australia is a pace attacking team but do not forget that they normally come with one very good spinner. try and consider Tiba in order to stabilise the middle order and pliz give Chakabva another chance

  • Anver on June 30, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Zim bowled really well to restrict Aus-A to a gettable 232-8 but batting failure after being 94-1 at one stage cost them the game.... Zim need to improve their batting in the coming matches otherwise its a cakewalk for Aus !!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    This Australia A side is actually pretty strong. Quite a few serious contenders for spots in the Australian side now and if not certainly in the near future. I'm sure Zimbabwe have room for improvement as well. Looking forward to AUS A up againts RSA A

  • Ahmed on June 29, 2011, 23:26 GMT

    @Qzdy. Ill tell you Zimbabwes problem. Everytime they go out to bat, they bat with fear and bat not to score runs, but to protect their wicket. They play some too fancy shots and try to hard to stay their for 50 overs. Zimbabwe just need to play their shots and go for it. They have nothing to lose when they bat as no one expects them to score a big total or chase the opposition. Zimbabwe must just go for it and never play with fear. This has been their biggest problem for a good 10 years.

  • Garry on June 29, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    Good start by the Aussie boys, today will be a pretty big step up against South Africa A. Would kill to see some highlights.

  • Justin on June 29, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    One has to seriously fear for the future of Zimbabwean cricket when the national side puts up such a performance against the weakest Australia A side I have ever seen.

    The Australia A side that went out onto the park for this game was significantly weaker than any of the Australian state teams and a long way off being the strongest A team that could have been sent, and they still thrashed the Zimbabweans, even after putting on such a poor batting display.

    One can only dread the thought of what Siddle and Hilfenhaus will do in the four day games.

    Heavy defeats in both four day games loom large, not to mention repeats of the woeful failures and pathetic batting collapses, like the 9/48 and sub-par scores of less than 150 we saw in this game, over the remainder of the one-day series.

    I would hope that after this game Zimbabwe can only get better, but I won't be holding my breath!

    As for the Zimbabwean selectors, where are Taibu, Chibhabha and Coventry, and why aren't they playing?

  • Qdzy on June 29, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    What is Zim not doing right ? They had familiar home conditions to their advantage, albeit having lost the toss, surely they knew the nature of the pitch, what was the problem this time. Are the players simply not applying themselves ? Is this a technical / coaching issue ? Cry the beloved game !

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