Five-wicket haul by all-rounder Cameron Green coupled with top knocks from David Warner and Steve Smith led Australia to a smooth five-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first ODI of three-match series in Townswille on Sunday.
With this win, Australia has taken a 1-0 lead in the series. Zimbabwe were bundled out for 200 despite Wesley Madhevere scoring a brilliant 72 off 91 balls. Green took 5/33.
Australia chased down the total comfortably with David Warner (57) and Steve Smith (48*) scoring solid knocks. Ryan Burl though took 3/60 and bowled really well for the visitors.
Put to bat first by the hosts, Zimbabwe openers Innocent Kaia and Tadiwanashe Marumani gave a solid start to the batters. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh broke the 42-run stand between the duo by catching and bowling out the Kaia for 17.
Later, Madhevere and Marumani carried on the momentum provided by openers. The scoreboard kept moving for a while until Adam Zampa rattled Marumani’s stumps when he was at 45 off 61 balls. The 45-run stand between the duo was over.
Then Zampa and Green dismissed Tony Munyonga (7) and Sikander Raza (5) quickly, leaving the visitors at 122/4. A 63-run stand followed between captain Regis Chakabva and Madhevere.
Madhevere brought up his fourth T20I half-century. The duo kept going for runs. Zampa got his second wicket of the match by dismissing Madhevere for 72 off 91 balls. At this point, Zimbabwe was 185/5.
From then on, a collapse was triggered in the Zimbabwe batting lineup. Green went on to take four more wickets and pacer Mitchell Starc took the final wicket to bundle out Zimbabwe for 200 in 47.3 overs. Green was the best bowler for Australia (5/33). Zampa also took 3/57. Marsh and Starc took one wicket each. Chasing 201, Aaron Finch and David Warner put Aussies to a fine start.
Richard Ngarava broke the 43-run stand by dislodging Finch’s stumps when he was at 15. Then, Warner and Smith put the Australian innings back on track after this early hiccup. The duo were dealing with boundaries.
Warner brought up his 22nd half-century. Sikandar Raza broke the 65-run stand by dislodging Warner’s stumps when he was at 57. At this point, Australia was 108/2. Then all-rounder gave Australia a scare by sending back Alex Carey (10), Marcus Stoinis (19) and Mitchell Marsh (2) for cheap, reducing Australia to 153/5.
Finally, the duo of Glenn Maxwell and Smith put up an unbeaten 48-run stand in 24 balls to take Australia across the finishing line. Maxwell was extremely brutal with his bat, scoring an unbeaten 32 off 9 balls with three fours and three sixes. Ryan Burl (3/60) delivered the best bowling performance for Zimbabwe but could not prevent a loss. Green was the ‘Man of the Match’ for his brilliant spell of 5/33.