Zimbabwe A Team Tri-Series July 3, 2011

Ferguson fifty gives Australia A third win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia A 162 for 6 (Ferguson 57*, Utseya 3-27) beat Zimbabwe XI 159 (Chakabva 45, Starc 3-34, Lyon 3-38) by four wickets

Australia A were tested for the first time in the tournament, as Prosper Utseya's superb spell had them struggling at 67 for 4 chasing 160, but an unbeaten half-century from Callum Ferguson gave them a four-wicket win and secured their place in the final of the tri-series. It seemed like it would be another easy win for Australia after they bowled Zimbabwe XI out for 159, and reached 45 for 0. But Utseya removed both openers and Steve O' Keefe, while Tim Paine was run out first ball, to leave Australia in trouble.

John Hastings came in and launched a counterattack, hitting two sixes in his 19 off 15 balls. He and Ferguson put together 34 for the fifth wicket to steady things for Australia and then Mitchell Starc chipped in with 18 in a 42-run stand to set up the victory. Ferguson finished with 57 not out, including four boundaries and a six.

Earlier it had been a strange beginning to Australia's chase with the usually-aggressive David Warner scoring 3 off 22 balls in a 45-run stand with Aaron Finch. Utseya gave Zimbabwe hope after that, but they did not have enough runs on the board.

Zimbabwe's batting had shown improvement in their previous match, when they got to within a run of South Africa A's total of 238. But the chief contributor in that game, captain Brendan Taylor, was dismissed in the second over against Australia, trapped lbw by Starc. Hamilton Masakadza was run out three overs later and Zimbabwe never really recovered from the early blows. Regis Chakabva took 104 balls to get 45 and wickets kept falling at the other end. Nathan Lyon picked three middle-order wickets before Starc came back and took two more wickets.

Zimbabwe will now hope the Australians can beat South Africa on July 5 to give them a chance of qualifying for the final.