Zimbabwe enjoyed a famous day in Townsville as they secured their first victory over Australia in the country. Ryan Burl collected remarkable figures of 5 for 10 in three overs after the seamers had done early damage before Zimbabwe overcame Josh Hazlewood’s three-wicket burst and some late nerves to get home by three wickets.
Captain Regis Chakabva nursed them towards the winning line, firstly with Tony Munyonga then with bowling hero Burl who brought the requirement into single figures with a six over deep midwicket against Adam Zampa off what was the seventh ball of the over. Burl fell in the next over to Mitchell Starc, as he became the fastest to 200 ODI wickets, but that was the final drama with Brad Evans driving the winning runs.
After their 2-1 win over Bangladesh at home and pushing India close in the final game of the previous, this was a hugely significant result for Zimbabwe, especially after they were beaten inside 43 overs just three days ago.
Australia’s innings was dominated by David Warner who made 94 out of 141 – the second-highest percentage for a completed men’s ODI innings – with the only other double-figure score coming from Glenn Maxwell as they were skittled in 31 overs. Burl’s legspin was introduced when the pair had started to rebuild for Australia with a sixth-wicket stand of 57 in nine overs. He claimed Maxwell with his fourth delivery and the last five wickets fell for 12 runs, including Warner, six short of his first international hundred since January 2020. It was the first time Zimbabwe had bowled Australia out in an ODI.
They started well in the chase, reaching 38 in the ninth over before Takudzwanashe Kaitano edged low to second slip. In Hazlewood’s next over, Wessly Madhevere cut powerfully to point where Ashton Agar indicated he had briefly lost sight of the ball. Sean Williams did not know much about the first ball he received, a short delivery he could only fend upwards off the glove.
Sikandar Raza managed one upper cut square of the wicket off Hazlewood, but his poor series against the short delivery continued when he top-edged Marcus Stoinis to long leg.
Tadiwanashe Marumani had done an excellent job opening the innings, mixing a little bit of fortune with some strong shots, but when he carved Cameron Green high into the off side, the target looked a long way off for Zimbabwe.
However, run rate was never going to be an issue and Chakabva, who scored a maiden ODI hundred against Bangladesh last month, was excellent at soaking up the pressure. Munyonga largely held back his attacking instincts, although after twice lofting Zampa down the ground he tried the same against Agar to open the door for Australia again but the captain wasn’t going to be denied.
For the first time in the series, Zimbabwe had the chance to bowl first and they made the most of it. Their seamers were excellent up front and Australia were never able to build a platform, although they contributed with some poor shot selection (or non-selection in Steven Smith’s case).
Aaron Finch’s struggles continued when, having managed one good-looking drive through cover, he fell to left-armer Richard Ngarava for the third time in the series, this time edging to second slip where Burl held the chance. In the next over, Smith padded up to a delivery that swung back from the recalled Victor Nyauchi and his use of the DRS showed it was taking the bails.
Australia have talked about taking an attacking approach in ODIs and Alex Carey tried to live by that when he aimed a huge drive at Evans but could only edge behind. Evans then produced a beautiful delivery to find Stoinis’ outside edge, although Zimbabwe needed the review system to overturn a not-out call on the field.
When Green drove Sean Williams to cover, Australia were 72 for 5 in the 18th over and Warner, who was dominating the scoring, was in desperate need of someone to stay with him.
Maxwell managed that for a while and runs came at a good rate with Warner regularly finding the boundary. For a period it looked as though Zimbabwe were losing control with their seamers waiting to be brought back, but that all changed in an instant.
Maxwell aimed into the leg side against Burl and got a big leading edge towards cover, then Agar managed to clip a huge full toss into the hands of midwicket. With the bowlers left for company, Warner continued to look for the boundary but when he tried to clear the leg side – where he had previously managed to put one onto the grass banks – Evans held a juggling catch at deep midwicket.
The final two wickets fell in the space of four deliveries and Burl walked off holding the ball aloft, barely able to believe what had just happened. ESPNCricinfor