Elton Chigumbura-Prosper Utseya partnership takes Zimbabwe to historic win over Australia
Elton Chigumbura hit an unbeaten 52 from 68 balls to guide Zimbabwe to a historic three-wicket victory over Australia in Harare on Sunday © AFP (File Photo)
By Sameer Jha
Aug 31, 2014
Zimbabwe won by three wickets against Australia the fourth ODI of the triangular series at Harare. Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya combined to form a crucial eight wicket partnership of 55 runs to help Zimbabwe win. The hosts were reeling at 156 for seven, and it was looking like they will once again fall just short of victory. However, Chigumbura and Utseya batted with just the right mix of caution and intensity to see Australia home. This is a massive win for the Zimbabweans, considering they were rammed by 198-runs just a week ago by the same opposition.
The match was a see-saw affair, with both teams gaining advantage over each other as the game went on. Zimbabwe started the game well and took early Australian wickets, but the visitors managed to recover late in their innings to put up a fighting score. Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza formed a great partnership, but both batsman fell in quick succession to hand the advantage back to Australia. In the end, Utseya and Chigumbura gave the many fans who had congregated in the stadium in the hope of a rare Zimbabwe victory, a reason to smile and celebrate.
For Australia, Nathan Lyon was the star bowler and caused plenty of problems for the Zimbabwean batsman. He finished with figures of four for forty four.
Earlier, the Australian batting had collapsed like a deck of cards, and the Australian total would have looked much less had Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin not combined to form a valuable partnership. Zimbabwe weren’t able to break their partnership, but Clarke had a small chat with Haddin and left the field retired hurt in the 41st over. Probably, the move was a precautionary measure to prevent further injury as Clarke had missed Australia’s opening two matches due to a hamstring injury. However, Clarke had to come back to face a ball in the 49th over as Australia had lost nine wickets.
Haddin also combined with Ben Cutting, to form a quickfire 51-run partnership off 33 balls for the eighth wicket to get Australia to a competitive total.
For Zimbabwe, Sean Williams bowled impressively and conceded just 21 runs in his 10 overs, and took two wickets. He was well supported by Prosper Utseya, John Nyumbu and Malcolm Waller – all of whom bowled economically and did not allow the Australian batsman to settle.
The win helped Zimbabwe end their miserable seven-match losing streak in ODIs.
Australia 209 for 9 in 50 overs (Michael Clarke 68*, Brad Haddin 49; Sean Williams 2 for 21, Donald Tiripano 2 for 34) lost to Zimbabwe 211 for 7 in 48 overs (Brendan Taylor 32, Elton Chigumbura 52; Nathan Lyon 4 for 44) by 3 wickets.
Man of the match: Elton Chigumbura
Photo gallery of the match