Home > Features >

Australia’s four losses to minnows in limited-overs cricket

Bangladesh 2005
Bangladesh pulled off a sensational win against the then dominant Australians in 2005 courtesy an outstanding century from Mohammad Ashraful © Getty Images

Australia have always been one of the dominant forces in world cricket. The air of invulnerability may be fading in recent years, but their reputation always precedes them. As a result, when they fail — and they do not fail too often — it seems like a bolt from the blue. Shiamak Unwalla recounts four occasions when the mighty Aussies were floored by minnows.

Beating Australia is a big deal for the best of sides. When a minnow beats them, it is cause for national celebration. Since the conception of limited overs cricket — One-Day Internationals (ODIs) were initially 60 overs long per innings — till the present-day Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), Australia have been by and large a tough opponent for most teams. Against the weaker sides, they have dominated virtually every encounter. Except for four magical occasions when the underdogs came out on top:

1. Australia vs Zimbabwe, Prudential World Cup 1983, ODI (60 overs): The very first time Zimbabwe clashed with Australia in an ODI was in the 1983 World Cup. Kim Hughes won the toss and asked Zimbabwe to bat first. After a 55-run opening alliance between Ali Omarshah and Grant Paterson,  Zimbabwe were reduced to 94 for five before Duncan Fletcher (69 not out) played a terrific rearguard innings to guide Zimbabwe to a decent score of 239 for six.

In reply, Australia started well but kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Kepler Wessels  hit a composed 76 and Rodney Marsh hammered a 42-ball unbeaten 50, but the match belonged to Fletcher, who starred with the ball as well to end with figures of four for 42 as Australia fell short by just 13 runs.

2. Australia vs Bangladesh, NatWest Series 2005, ODI: In what was possibly Bangladesh’s best ever ODI victory, Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat first. Fifties from Damien Martyn (77) and Michael Clarke (54) as well as contributions from Matthew Hayden (37), Mike Hussey (31 not out) and Simon Katich (36 not out) helped Australia post a competent 249 for five.

Bangladesh started slowly in their chase, with both openers seeing off the new ball without taking too many risks. However, at 72 for three in the 21st over, it looked like Bangladesh were batting themselves out of contention. However, Mohammad Ashraful came up with one of the greatest knocks ever played by a Bangladesh batsman when he hit a stroke-filled 101-ball 100 against the likes of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz and Brad Hogg. Habibul Bashar’s crucial 47 helped the young Ashraful on his way, as Bangladesh managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets in modern history.

3. Australia vs Zimbabwe, ICC World T20 2007, T20I: Australia were accused of not taking the T20 format seriously. After the embarrassment of this game, perhaps they were shaken into a furore. Australia batted first after winning the toss, but never quite got going. Andrew Symonds (33) and Brad Hodge (35 not out) boosted the ODI world champions to a moderate 138 after Elton Chigumbura’s inspired spell of three for 20.

Zimbabwe galloped away in their reply, with Vusi Sibanda smashing a 16-ball 23 to give Zimbabwe an ideal platform. Australia kept pegging away the wickets though, to reduce Zimbabwe to 70 for four. But there was one man standing in their way; Brendan Taylor was in no mood to let the Aussies get the better of him, as he hammered an unbeaten 60 off 45 deliveries to lead Zimbabwe to a memorable win.

4. Zimbabwe vs Australia, Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014, ODI: It seems that Zimbabwe plays their best cricket against Australia; three of the four upsets suffered by the Australian juggernauts have been at the hands of the African nation. After Prosper Utseya’s hat-trick and fifer in the previous match against South Africa had got Zimbabwe close to a victory, their batsmen faltered while chasing a paltry total. In their next game, Australia batted first after winning the toss, but crashed and burned against the Zimbabwean spinners, losing as many as six of their nine wickets to the combined spin bowling of John Nyumbu, Utseya, Sean Williams, and Malcolm Waller. Australia hobbled to 209 for nine on the back of a battling 68 not out from skipper Michael Clarke.

In reply, Sikandar Raza (22) started confidently for Zimbabwe before Brendan Taylor (32) added impetus in the middle overs. Nathan Lyon (4/44) then all but took the game away from the hosts with an inspired spell of masterful off-spin. At 156 for seven, it seemed like only a matter of time before Australia wrapped things up. However, skipper Elton Chigumbura (52 not out) and Utseya  (30 not out) had other ideas; the pair added an unbeaten 55 runs to take Zimbabwe home with two overs to spare. Zimbabwe had triumphed over Australia in an ODI for the first time in 31 years, and in the process might have inspired a generation of budding cricketers.

Complete coverage of Zimbabwe Tri-Series 2014

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Rohit Sharma gave a fantastic account of himself: Sanjay Bangar

Yuvraj Singh flays media for twisting statements on future in international cricket

India A beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs in tour match; Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Karn Sharma shine

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

West Indies crisis: Trinidad and Tobago condemns West Indies’ pullout from India tour

MS Dhoni told me there’s nothing called ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’: Pankaj Singh

All-India PSU T20 Tournament: Oriental Insurance defeat HPCL

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Najam Sethi as ICC President

Justice Mudgal Committee report on IPL spot-fixing to be submitted on November 3

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here