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Zimbabwe 171 all out. Oz win by 91 runs

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February 21, 2011

21:36  Scorecard:

That's it folks. Mithcell Johnson ends proceedings with one that went right through Mpofu like the batsman did not exist, and crashed into the stumps.

A fitting end to a match dominated by bowlers.

Those of you who did not have the time for the live updates, the match report will be up on the site in a few minutes.

Till the next match.
21:29  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe's batting powerplay comes into force by default.

At 168/9, can Zimbabwe's last wicket pair reach 200?
21:25  Scorecard:

In over number 43, Mitchell Johnson ended a very fine all-round performance from Cremer in this match.

Johnson angled one across the right hander. Cremer tried to guide to third man, but ended up edging it for a fine low catch at first slips feet for Haddin. A spunky 37 that was.

Cremer had taken 1/41 in the Aussie innings.

21:16  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe are bent on playing out the 50 overs, irrespective of the result.

After Utseya's dismissal, Ray Price joins Cremer as Zimbabwe reach 165/8 in 42.

21:06  Scorecard:

Though they are just delaying the inevitable, what Utseya and Cremer have shown is that this Zimbabwe team is not going to roll over and die, whatever its inadequacies are.

The duo raise the 150 in the 39th over.

Zimbabwe, 151/7 after 39.
20:57  Scorecard:

Utseya and Cremer, who bowled brilliantly during the Australia innings, are at it again, nudging the Zimbabwe total towards respectability.

They have now added 32 in nine over, with Cremer scoring 22 of those.
20:33  Scorecard:

Australia are now dishing out a dose of Zimbabwe's medicine, as Ponting keeps Kerjza on at one end. The bowler responds by trapping Chakabva in front.

After 30, Zimbabwe are 111/7.

Ponting persisting with his spinner, even though it will take his pacers about 15 minutes max to put Zimbabwe out of its misery.
20:19  Scorecard:

Tait snares Sean Williams for a till-now innings highest of 28.
Williams looked assured and Zimbabwe would have wanted him to bat longer in order to give their score some respectability. The result is now just a formality.
20:04  Scorecard:

With the Zimbabwe top order opened up and the lower order exposed, Ponting hsa brought back Tait, in an attempt to hammer the opposition out.
20:03  Scorecard:

Krejza gets Chigumbura!

The Zimbabwe skipper did something against Krejza that, interestingly, the Australians never tried against their spinners. He put a long stride forward and got down to sweep the leggie and in the process only managed to feather an edge off his glove, which ballooned to haddin behind the stumps.
19:56  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe are enjoying this breathing space they have gotten.

They have milked Krejza and Watson for 23 in the last five overs.

At this rate, in a couple of overs, Ponting will look to his pacers to give another mid-innings breakthrough.
19:39  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 57/4 after 15.

Ponting gives his pace hounds a bit of a breather, as he brings on Jason Krejza.
19:26  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 44/4 after 12.3

The Aussie pace trio have bowled exceptionally well. Tait was erratic to begin with, but then found his accuracy. Johnson and Lee were spot on from the first ball. There was plenty of bounce for all of them. Johnson even got one to lift from good length and smacked Craig Ervine on the face.

Johnson pitched the next one full and straight, and Ervine, probably yet to recover from that blow to his grill, was trapped plumb in front.

Asoka D'Silva turned down the appeal, the Aussies took it upstairs, and the batsman had to walk.

This match has seen three referrals till now, all of them for leg befores and all of them successful.
19:19  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe in trouble now. 40/3 after 11.2.

Tait comes on and in his second ball, fires one from wide of the stumps. It pitched on middle and was angling towards leg. Taylor was all tied up, as it hit his pads and changed directions to take off his middle stump.

The 262 that Australia put on the board now looks like 300.

19:14  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 40/2 after 11

Mitchell Johnson got Taibu to poke at one on the off stump in an attempt to run it past the cordon, and Shane Watson accepted the edge.

19:07  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 39/1 after 10 overs

With Coventry gone, Brendon Taylor needs to play the anchor, with the others playing around him. Taibu has gotten off to an assured start. This partnership holds the key to how far Zimbabwe can go.

Ponting has mixed up his pace attack well. Of the 10 overs, Lee has bowled 5, Mitch 3, and Tait 2.

He opened with Tait and Lee, and after two over each, replaced the wayward Tait with Johnson. Lee got a wicket at the other end, and immediately, he swapped Tait for Lee. The Zimbabwe batsmen havent had the time to size up any of the three bowlers and have been constantly kept on their toes.
18:57  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 30/1 after 8

By swapping Johnson for Tait, Ponting has quickly ensured that there are no easy runs for Zimbabwe. Lee-Johnson are far more accurate, and he can always brin back Tait when the Zimbabwe are tied up.

18:50  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 22/1 after 6.

Coventry gone. Looking to pull Lee, he could only top edge the ball into orbit. The bowler was waiting for it as it came down.

Aside: Sudipto Ganguly, of Reuters, points out: Whenever Zimbabwe have beaten Australia in a World Cup match, India have gone on to lift the cup! :))

The first time this happened, of course, is 1983, when Zimbabwe playing their first ever ODI, shocked Australia with their gentle medium pace.

The second time this happened was in the 2007 T20 World Cup, when Zimbabwe beat Australia in a warm up match.

So, pray.
18:44  Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 22/0 after 5

The standout in those five overs was a scooped drive from Coventry off Bret Lee.

Lee Pitched it full at full blast, Coventry crouched for a drive and with tremendous batspeed drove it on the offiside, at the same time giving a bit of a push with the bottom hand at the last minute, sending it soaring away over the ropes.

Johnson was introduced in the fifth over, and he brought much needed control, which Tait did not display in his two overs.

In the 55 overs so far, not once have Zimbabwe shown signs that they are awed of the occasion or opposition. Respect. More importantly, we still have a match on our hands.

Even the Motera crowd, which was about 2,000 has swelled to about 5000.

Great cricket this match has been so far.
18:32  Scorecard:

Shaun Tait begins proceedings for Australia.

Took the first over to get into his stride. He mostly bowled just short of length and got good bounce from the pitch.

Brett Lee gets a huge roar from the crowd at the other end. He bowled far fuller lengths than Tait and his second ball was just right for Charles Coventry to drive it through the covers for four.

18:19  Scorecard:

In all probability, the Australians have this one covered, despite not being able to get on top of the Zimbabwe spin attack.

They would have taken a lot of points from their batting display in this first match. Espcially since the two other biggies in their group are Sri Lanka and Pakistan, both of which have spin bowlers in plenty, and also of better quality than this Zimbabwe attack.

Zimbabwe may have given about 20-30 runs too many here. And that gets further blown up by the fact that they will have to play 30 overs of red hot pace.

Let us see how Brendon Taylor and Charles Coventry handle Lee and Co, here. The umpires are out on the field.
17:39  Scorecard:

Australia finish at 262/7, thanks largely to Michael Clarke's late flourish, and Shane Watson's 79.

But this innings was all about Zimbabwe and their slow bowlers. Whichever way this match goes from now on, Zimbabwe's bowlers can stand tall with their heads held high.

Ray Price take a bow.

He gave away only 43 runs in his 10 overs, 13 of which came in his last over, the 49th of the innings, when Australia was making a mad dash for the finish line.
An amazing aspect of Price's innings was that the other nine were bowled with the field restrictions on.

The man opened the bowling against the might of Haddin and Watson, kept the two strokemakers tied down for a najority of the first 15 overs when field restrictions were on, and then came back on when the field restrictions were on in the batting powerplay. The Aussies did not have a clue how to play him.

Mpofu and Utseya were also brilliant, complementing Price.

Teams that will face Zimbabwe in the matches to come would do well to sit and chalk a plan for him, and Utseya.

Now for the Zimbabwe chase. Their coach Alan Butcher said yesterday that if they can keep the Aussies under 300, they may have a chance.

Their bowlers have done far beyond his expectations. Now will their batsmen be able to withstand 30 overs of extreme pace? A lot depends on the bespectacled Charles Coventry?

17:21  Scorecard:

Australia 226/4 after 47 overs.

Utseya finishes a brilliant spell of 10 overs for 43, with the major wicket of Haddin, when he was well set and looking to cut loose.

He also ensured that the Aussies did not run away inthe batting powerplay.
17:13  Scorecard:

Australia 207/3 after 44 overs

Brilliant use of his bowlers by Chigumbara. Zimbabwe even got a wicket off the last ball of the powerplay.

Chigumbara brought on his best bowlers -- price and utseya and one for Mpofu -- for the powerplay and ensured that the Aussies get only in the batting 35 runs and lost a wicket in the batting powerplay.

Price and Utseya now have one over each. Mpofu has 3 left, meaning Chigumbara is sorted for the last 5 overs.

David Hussey walks in. One more wicket here would further stymie the champions.
17:04  Scorecard:

Australia 194/3 after 43 overs

The 50 partnership between White and Clarke is also up in 61 balls.

The first three powerplay overs have gone for only 6, 8, 7. Not bad, Zimbabwe...

17:02  Scorecard:

Australia 186/3 after 42 overs

Australia take the batting powerplay in the 41st over, which brings their first boundary in 11 overs.

The powerplay also sees the reintroduction of Price and Utseya for Zimbabwe.

How many can Clarke and White put on the board?
16:45  A nugget from Opta, who are outstanding with their football statistics:

Ricky Ponting has now been run out 30 times in ODIs. THe second highest for an Australian after Mark Waugh.
16:42  Scorecard:

Australia 159/3 after 37 overs

Graeme Cremer is the first Zimbabwe spinner to finish his his 10 overs with figures of 1/41. The Aussies could score only one six off him and had to run for the rest.

Into the final hour of play. As said earlier, Price-Utseya have 6 overs. Chigumbara must find 7 overs from the others. And as for Australia, the further, their powerplay is delayd, the better for Zimbabwe.

16:32  Scorecard:

Australia 144/3 after 33 overs

Ever since Clarke came to the wicket, he had been busy, and in the same vein, called his captain for a risky second, pacer Mpofu picked it up in the deep and fired a direct hit in. The throw was how coaches urge their wards to do: Flat, aimed at the top of the wicket, and Ponting was well short of his crease.

White comes in.

Great opportunity this for Zimbabwe: Two new batsmen at the crease, and this has happened exactly at the time a set pair would have taken the powerplay.

The two quick wickets are bound to postpone Australia's batting powerplay.

This will buy Zim some time with its lesser spinners, saving Price and Utseya for the finish.

What a match till now, though!
16:23  Watson goes for 79:  Watson looked to defend the first ball of Cremer's over and was hit in the pads.

The on-field umpire turned down the appeal, and once again, the bowler and Taibu quickly asked the skippr to go for a referral.

Replays showed that Watson was plumb in front.

Big blow for Australia this...

As an aside, Zimbabwe have gotten two wicket taking chances in this innings, both were denied by the in-field umpire, they took both upstairs and succeeded both times.

Taibu has been brilliant all along, as hewas the deciding force in taking the reviews.
16:18  Scorecard:

Australia 140/1 after 31 overs

Left arm spinner Sean Williams introduced.

The problem with this Zimbabwe attack is the quality of the spinners outside of Price and Utseya. To complicate the problem, they now have only three overs each left, and the others have to do duty in the remaining overs.

The following period may well be where Australia will take the match out of Zimbabwe's reach if they continue in the same vein.

16:13  Scorecard:

Australia 132/1 after 29 overs

Watson is now clearly clearly unshackled and has a measure of all the bowlers.

The last 5 overs have now cost Zimbabwe 43 runs. If they don't get a wicket here, it will soon be powerplay time and the tide will completely turn if Watson is around. They have to press hard if they are not to squander all their hard work in the first two thirds of the innings.
16:08  Scorecard:

Australia 119/1 after 28 overs

Ponting danced down the wicket twice in that Cremer over, but both times, coudn't middle it well.

Watson then stayed back in the crease to on that pitched slightly short, and pulled it into the stands. Savage.

16:03  Scorecard:

Australia 99/1 after 26 overs

At the half way mark, this looks like a scorecard straight out of the 1990s.

Watson gets to his 50, off 69 balls. Very uncharacteristic, especially since it was not even a suprise that Zimbabwe would go with spin all the way. But even in the opening partnership, Watson looked the more assured and has now carried on with his skipper for company.

Chigumbara introduces himself into the attack and starts off with a wide. Zimbabwe should now ensure that they dont let the aussies off the hook in these middle overs.

15:56  Scorecard:

Australia 92/1 after 24.3 overs

Zimbabwe have continued to keep the pressure with their tight, wicket-to-wicket bowling.

Ponting has given most of the strike to Watson, who had a great cross-batted four past the bowler in the 23rd over.

He had shaped up for a shot square of the wicket, but the ball came on straight and he swatted it hard straight down the wicket.

The 2000-odd crowd, which despite the small numbers is spread around the stadium, has been firmly behind the underdogs, cheering every ball that beats the bat, every dive and every appeal.

Zimbabwe now shuffling its spinners as Brendon Taylor comes in to the attack.
15:41  Scorecard:

Australia 61/1 after 18.4 overs

That was a good first hour for Zimbabwe.

Utseya rapped Haddin on the pads with one that pitched outside off, but turned in sharply. The on-field umpire turned it down.

Utseya and keeper Taibu were very sure they had their man and went to the skipper to ask for a reivew. Haddin goes

Overall, barring that one Mpofu over that went for 17, and let the Aussies off the hook, it was a great overall bowling performance, built on discipline and knowing their limitations.

They did not give any width to the batsmen and were not owerawed by the opposition (certainly Price, who was the live wire for Zimbabwe in this period. He threw himself at anything that was hit straight, gave some lip to even the non-striker and once even paused for long in his delivery, confusing everyone)

But Zimbabwe would regret not getting any wicket for their toil in the first 18 overs. And would be hoping their other spinners bowl as well as Price.

Among the Batsmen, Watson looked the more assured in the begining, but Haddin has now started using his feet well to the spinners after those morale-boositng double boundaries off Mpofu.
15:24  Scorecard:

Australia 53/0 after 15 overs

After that big Mpofu over, the pressure was off the Aussie openers and it showed.

Haddin used his feet well and the over would have cost double the 4 it cost, but for a brilliant piece of fielding by Craig Ervine at mid-off.

Ray Price is back into the attack.
15:21  Scorecard:

Australia 49/0 after 14 overs

Australia got the piece of luck they needed to get out of this small hole they are finding themselves in.

The last ball of Utseya's second over hit Haddin and rolled on to the stumps, but did not have enough to dislodge the bails.

Price ended his first spell of six overs for 18.

The big problem for Zimbabwe is that they need wickets now. They have tied down the Aussies pretty well till now. But if they don't get a wicket or two here, the batsmen wont take much time in turning the tide.

The 15th over was a case in point. Zim brought back Mpofu and paid the penalty as he went for 17 runs in that over. Watson helped himself to two fours, while Haddin charged him for two more of his own.

Wickets, wickets, wickets... that is what Zimbabwe need.
15:07  Scorecard:

Australia 28/0 after 11 overs

Utseya replaces Mpofu. It is now spin from either end. Utseyta is the highest wickettaker in Zimbabwe's bowling lie-up today with 93.

And he starts off with a tidy maiden.
15:05  Scorecard:

Australia 28/0 after 10 overs

Not the kind of start you would have expected.

But a beautiful mandatory powerplay for Zimbabwe. Pacer Mpofu has conceded only 13 off his first five overs. He has been mostly bowling straight and has pitched it on the right lenght, denying the openers any chance to free their arms.

Left arm spinner Price Price has kept it wicket-to-wicket, and has gone for only 15.

Zimbabwe have shown how it is going to be for the rest ofthe match. If they continue to be disciplined, the onus will fall on the Aussies.

But Zimbabwe could do with some wickets as they take the bowling powerplay and Utseya is pressed into action.
14:58  Scorecard:

Australia 25/0 after 8 overs

The first four off Price comes in his fourth over, as Haddin gets a good stride forward to the pitch of the ball, to drive it to the boundary.

These two batsmen have had a good look in now. Standby for the scorecard to accelerate.

For Price and Co, it is crucial that they take a wicket now. (Though the Aussies have been quiet, neither opening bowler looks like a serious threat)
14:46  Scorecard:

Australia 15/0 after 5 overs

This has been a good first five overs from Zimbabwe.

Mpofu has kept it stright and on the right length, while Price has been rushing through his overs with minimum fuss. Zimbabwe have shown the intent and it is now up to the batsmen now, in the coming overs to take the initiative.

14:44  Scorecard:

Australia 14/0 after 4 overs

Again Price tying up the batsmen, while they get accustomed to the pitch and his bowling.

14:40  Scorecard:

Australia 11/0 after 3 overs

That was the first boundary of the innings, as Mpofu bowled on Watson;s pads, for the batsmen to flick to fine-leg for four.
14:36  Scorecard:

Australia 5/0 after 2 overs
Price kept it tight, and a quick over with three singles.

14:34  Scorecard:

Australia 2/0 after 1 over

No suprises there. This was the talking point all of yesterday. And Ray Price, with his his left-arm spin opens the bowling.
14:32  Scorecard:

Though it is just a couple of thousand people in a stadium with a 48,000 capacity, they definitely are finding their voice.

Third ball of the over, Mpofu raps Watson on the pads. but the appeal is turned down.

Two singles in this over, either side of the wicket, behind square.

Good first over.
14:27  Scorecard:
The anthems are over. This world cup has seen a football-styled 'kids-leading players to the field with extra size flags' routine... The aussie openers are walking in as the Zimbabwe field spreads out.
14:11  Australia to bat first:  Ricky Ponting won the toss and has elected to bat first.
Australia go with their first XI:
Watson, Haddin, Ponting, Clarke, White, Hussey D, Steve Smith, Johnson, Krejza, Lee and Tait
14:06  The Zimbabwe XI: Elton Chigumbura, Regis Chakabva, Charles Coventry, Gaaeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Shingirai Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Ray Price, Tatenda Taibu, Brendon Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.

14:00  Australia to bat:  Those who were hoping for a repeat of New Zealand v Kenya (Match over in 32 overs), it is not happening today.
Ricky Ponting has won the toss and Australia will bat first.
More likely than not, the first innings will last the full 50 overs.
So, all set now for Zimbabwe's spin bowlers vs Australia's powerhouse top order.

13:12  Live from Motera:  Zimbabwe have been practising hard for this match.
They had a one-hour training session under the lights last night.
And this afternoon, they are out in the middle, training again.

13:01  More on powerplays:  Despite what Crowe says, not many captains know how to employ the batting powerplays, says Rohit Mahajan in Outlook
12:59  Professor Crowe's Formula:  Martin Crowe, the New Zealand skipper who employed spinner Dipak Patel as an opening bowler and introduced 'pinch-hitting' in the the cricket lexicon with Mark Greatbach, says the team that consistently scores well in the batting powerplay and launches its finish from there, will win the world cup.
On cricinfo
12:54  The Mysterious Mr. Hussey:  This one looks more like the Indian team of the 1990s than the mighty, thorough and professional Aussies.
Mike Hussey, who the Australian selectors said was carrying an injury, has told Western Australia's selectors that he is ready to play!
Though this report says he is fit and was being considered for selection, The Warriors scorecard against Tasmania does not feature Mr. Cricket.
Either way, Hussey has definitely embarrassed the national selectors.

12:46  Sachin undergoes MRI scan:  Both Reuters and PTI say Sachin underwent an MRI scan at Mumbai's Lilavati hospital, regarding an old knee problem after he sensed some discomfort.

Doctors said the scan was a precautionary measure and have cleared Sachin, who has flown to Bangalore to join the team.