Zimbabwe stun Australia

Australia humbled by Group B minnows

By Mark Kendall   Last updated: 13th September 2007   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Zimbabwe stun Australia

Zimbabwe: Famous victory

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Zimbabwe sent shockwaves through the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa as they recorded a remarkable five-wicket victory over Australia in Cape Town.

The Australians, who have not played any competitive cricket since winning the ICC World Cup back in April, looked decidedly ring-rusty and ultimately paid the price against an inspired Zimbabwe outfit.

Having won the toss and opted to bat first, Australia lost wickets at regular intervals and rather stumbled to 138-9 off their 20 overs with Brad Hodge top-scoring with 35 not out.

Zimbabwe's run-chase was blighted by persistent rain which forced the teams from the field at one point.

However, on their return, Zimbabwe were guided home by man-of-the-match Brendan Taylor (60 not out) who showed a cool head to help his side find 12 runs from the final over to clinch a famous victory.

Slow wicket

Australia never really came to terms with the conditions at Newlands with a sodden outfield and slow wicket proving difficult to score on.

Indeed, they rapidly found themselves in trouble at 19-3 as Matthew Hayden (4), Adam Gilchrist (4) and Ricky Ponting (8) all departed cheaply after poor shots.

Hayden nicked behind after a fishing for a wide one second ball, Gilchrist spooned one up to the man on the square-leg boundary and Ponting perished after an ugly heave sliced off his bat and down to third man.

Michael Hussey made a nervous-looking 15 before being brilliantly run out by Vasi Sibanda and when Andrew Symonds (33) - one of the few batsmen to look at ease on the surface - was stumped by a smart bit of work by Taylor it really was game on.

Brad Hodge retained his composure to see the Australians to a competitive if below-par total of 138-9, but was offered precious little support from his side's lower order with only Brett Lee (12) making any real impression with the bat.

Zimbabwe's reply got off to a brisk start with Sibanda producing one or two eye-catching shots before perishing caught behind for 23 off 15 balls.

At the other end Taylor ensured the scoreboard kept ticking over with a procession of quick singles and clever nudges.

However, the run-chase appeared to be stalling as Stuart Clark picked up Chamu Chibhabha (15) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (3) with Mitchell Johnson removing Tatendu Taibu (duck) in between to leave them 70-4.

Indeed, with the teams heading for the pavilion as the rain lashed down the Australians were ahead on the Duckworth/Lewis scoring system.

But conditions did improve allowing Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza to edge their team skilfully into a winning position - two sixes from Taylor off one Hodge over particularly crucial - with a vital stand of 53.

Masakadza did depart in the penultimate over, but Taylor was to remain and when a low full toss from Nathan Bracken cannoned off his pads and down to the fine leg boundary the game was up with a ball to spare.

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