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)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts

Photos

India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala

Videos

Pakistan A vs Australia, Day 4: Highlights

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Callum Egen scores 381 in 40 overs in Taieri vs Kaikorai New Zealand match

BCCI not treating women’s cricket well, says WCAI secretary Nutan Gavaskar

South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014: Teams look for psychological advantage before 2015 World Cup

Navjot Singh Sidhu turns 51

Mitchell Marsh turns 23

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here