Zimbabwe vs. Australia: Triangular Series Highlights, Scorecard and Report

Danny CollinsFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2014

Zimbabwean bowler Prosper Utseya walks off the pitch while holding the ball after getting a hat trick during the cricket One Day International match against South Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press

Australia suffered a dismal three-wicket defeat to perennial outsiders Zimbabwe in the Triangular Series one-day match in Harare.

The Zimbabweans hadn't won since beating minnows Afghanistan last month and had been on a seven-match losing run. But the southern African outfit put the form book to one side and produced a convincing display to beat Michael Clarke's disappointing team for the first time since 1983. 

This was a comfortable victory for Zimbabwe, who restricted Australia to just 209 from their 50 overs in what was a disjointed batting display in which only Brad Haddin and Clarke impressed. 

Australia Innings (50 overs)
BatsmanDismissalRunsBalls faced
AJ Finchb Nyumbu1112
PJ Hughesc Nyumbu b Utseya1030
MJ Clarkenot out68102
GJ Baileyb Williams15
GJ Maxwellb Waller1317
MR Marshc Utseya b Tiripano1537
BJ Haddinc Waller b Tiripano4966
JP Faulknerc Nyumbu b Utseya01
MA Starcb Williams35
BCJ Cuttingrun out2622
NM Lyonnot out83

Zimbabwe's showing at the crease was an altogether more impressive spectacle, with Prosper Utseya adding to his two wickets with a quickfire knock of 30 and Elton Chigumbura hitting his 50. 

Clarke's side got off to an inauspicious start after electing to bat first. Opener Aaron Finch was gone within four overs to the bowling of John Nyumbu and replaced by the captain himself. 

Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press

Clarke elected to steady the green-and-gold ship, but a miserly 35 runs from the first 11 overs removed any semblance of fluency from the Australian attack. Phillip Hughes was gone soon after for 10 after being caught by Nyumbu off the bowling of Utseya. 

Australia's line-up was beginning to disintegrate when George Bailey was dismissed for a solitary run only one over later. 

Clarke was the only stability in the Australian rearguard as Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh came and went in quick succession. That was until the captain's old stablemate Haddin came to the crease with Australia lagging on 97-for-5. 

That partnership was bearing fruit for the Australians until Clarke was forced to retire through a persistent injury that saw him replaced by James Faulkner. The latter would only see one ball before being removed by Utseya. 

Up stepped Mitchell Starc, who was duly dispatched for three runs by Williams. This was fast turning into a disaster for the green and gold. 

His replacement, Ben Cutting, helped Haddin spare some of his side's blushes with a 50 partnership that took the Australians over the 200 mark. But it would not be enough to avoid their lowest-ever one-day total against the Zimbabweans as both were dismissed in the final over of the innings. Australia went in having set a target of 210-for-9.

Zimbabwe's response was dominant. 

Zimbabwe Innings (48 overs)
BatsmanDismissalRunsBalls faced
TMK Mawoyob Lyon1544
Sikandar Razac sub (SPD Smith) b Lyon2232
H Masakadzab Starc1835
BRM Taylorb Lyon3226
MN Wallerc & b Maxwell1139
SC Williamsc Clarke b Lyon45
E Chigumburanot out5268
DT Tiripanob Starc312
P Utseyanot out3028

Tino Mawoyo and Sikandar Raza established a reasonable platform for the Zimbabwean assault on Australia's target, knocking 15 and 22 respectively before being dismissed by Nathan Lyon. 

There was strength in depth in the Zimbabweans batting line-up, though, and Hamilton Masakadza hit a steady 18 before Brendan Taylor smashed 32 from 26 deliveries. He too was seen off by Lyon. 

Zimbabwe were rattling through the innings, and although Malcolm Waller (11) and Sean Williams (4) disappointed, Chigumbura was there to pick up the slack and strike a classy 52 from 68 balls. 

Zimbabwe were cruising to victory, and despite the loss of Donald Tiripano for three, Utseya smashed 30 runs to help Zimbabwe to a remarkable victory with two overs to spare. 

Australia next face South Africa in the three-team tournament in Harare on 2 September. It will then be Zimbabwe's turn to test their regional rivals in the final game of the round-robin stage two days later. 

The two best-performing sides will then go on to contest the final, again in Harare, on 6 September.