Zimbabwe pulled off an incredible victory over Australia in their Triangular series match in Harare on Sunday, their first win against the No1-ranked team in the world for 31 years.
In doing so they moved above Australia on the log, after Michael Clarke’s team lost for the second successive time. ‘Definitely not enough runs. But credit to Zimbabwe,’ said Clarke. ‘They bowled well and batted well. We lost the match during our innings. And Zimbabwe showed us how to play spin. We have to make sure we are switched on for our next match against South Africa.’
Australia had won the toss and elected to bat, but could only make a sub-standard 209-9, with Clarke’s 68 and the 49 from wicketkeeper Brad Haddin being the only contributions worthy of a mention. Prosper Utseya, who claimed a hat-trick against South Africa on Friday, picked up another two wickets (10-1-45-2), with Sean Williams really applying the brakes with 2-31 from his allocated 10 overs.
In their turn at the crease the nerves were always likely to be jittery. Zimbabwe had failed to chase down South Africa’s 237 on Friday and when they stumbled to 106-5 halfway through the innings on Sunday it seemed like a case of deja vu. However, a man of the match unbeaten 52 from Elton Chigumbura (from 68 balls) saw the hosts through to the famous victory.
And they finished off in style. Chigumbura and Utseya put on 55 for an unbroken 55 for the eighth wicket, and the latter smashed Mitchell Starc over midwicket for six to claim the victory by three wickets with 12 balls to spare.
‘I had to be there till the end. The most important thing was to stay calm,’ said Chigumbura. ‘The guys worked very hard for this and supporters were behind us throughout. Today we showed some improvement. We just have to keep working. Hopefully we will have another good game on Thursday. Prosper came in and said he wanted to be positive. That was good for me because I could try and stay there.’