Zimbabwe defeated Australia by three wickets – its first ODI win against the side in more than 31 years
There was much joy for the 10,000-odd spectators who were at Harare Sports Club on Sunday (August 31), as Zimbabwe beat Australia by three wickets to register its first win in the ongoing triangular One-Day International series.
Elton Chigumbura, the Zimbabwe captain, led from the front with an unbeaten 52 when Zimbabwe was 156 for 7, as it chased down Australia's 209 for 9 with two overs to spare.
Prosper Utseya, who impressed with the ball in Zimbabwe's game against South Africa two nights ago, was the other major contributor in the win, first returning figures of 2 for 45 and then scoring a vital unbeaten 30, smashing a six off Mitchell Starc to seal the game.
It was Zimbabwe’s second win over Australia in ODIs. The first win came back in the 1983 World Cup at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, when Duncan Fletcher scored 69 and picked up four wickets in a 13-run win. That was the first time the two sides had met in an ODI.
Australia was left with plenty to ponder, after having left out Steve Smith, the legspinning allrounder, and Mitchell Johnson, its pace spearhead.
Michael Clarke also aggravated his hamstring injury while batting and will return home to work on his fitness on Monday.
Australia now needs to beat South Africa on Tuesday to assure themselves of a place in Saturday's final.
The hamstring injury had been the reason Clarke missed Australia's first two games, and against Zimbabwe, it forced him to retire hurt on 68 as Australia posted 209 for 9.
Although he returned to bat the final two deliveries of Australia's innings and chipped in with an over of spin, he later confirmed that he would take no further part in the tri-series.
Opting to bat, Australia was exposed by Zimbabwe's spinners, who reduced the visitors to 57 for 4 and later 150 for 7.
Brad Haddin (49) was dropped three times during his knock, helping Australia cross the 200-run mark.
With a relatively small total to defend, Nathan Lyon dismissed both the openers, and picked up two more wickets as Zimbabwe slipped from 100 for 2 to 106 for 5.
Zimbabwe tumbled to 156 for 7, but Chigumbura and Utseya refused to budge, sharing an unbroken 55-run stand, to give the hosts a landmark victory.