Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening spells by Chris Mpofu and Keagan Meth restricted the visitors to 32 for one after ten overs.
Straight lines and good length on any pitch particularly the Harare Sports club pitch will contain any top batting side and the pair held fort for the
first ten overs.
Mpofu was the first to strike with two the early wickets of David Warner (1) and Aaron Finch (23). First up to go was Warner who was caught at extra
cover by Prosper Utseya in only the third over of the day. He was soon followed to pavilion by fellow opener Finch who was trapped leg before
wicket by Mpofu.
A third wicket partnership between vice Captain, Callum Ferguson (52), and Nic Maddinson (63) was the mainstay of the Australians total, rescuing them
from a somewhat shaky start. The pair added 98 runs on the board over a period of 17.3 overs.
Visiting team captain Tim Paine, came in to bat at number seven from his traditional opening position and finished off the innings with an unbeaten
37 from 40 balls, an important contribution to a batting line-up that had staggered to 190 for seven at some point.
Peak of the bowlers for Zimbabwe was Chris Mpofu with figures of three for 31 in ten overs. At the end of the day the visitors finished for 322 for
eight in their allotted 50 overs.
Zimbabwe looked promising in the initial phases of the chase with newly appointed captain, Brendan Taylor and Vusi Sibanda opening the batting. Both
openers seemed to cope with the tall seamers swinging the ball but a poorly timed lob by Taylor who failed to clear the bowler but returned the catch
for 17. Despite such a heavy blow Zimbabwe were still ahead of the pursuit for the first ten overs at 37 for one.
Sibanda partnered Hamilton Masakadza to build a 68 run partnership from 70 balls for the second wicket. Nathan Lyon slowed the thrust catching Sibanda
for 37 off his own bowling. Masakadza, who had struggled with his form in the last season, scored the home sides only landmark after finishing with a
knock of 57 off 87 balls featuring four boundaries.
Australia was ascertained for victory when Zimbabwe lost five wickets for 46 runs at the hands of Lyon and John Hastings. Lyon was the first to write the
tale of Zimbabwe’s demise removing Craig Ervine and Regis Chakabva. Hastings salvaged Zimbabwe’s innings in a space of four balls, removing Elton
Chigumbura and Forster Mutizwa consecutively, reducing Zimbabwe to 122 for seven.
The tournament is structured in a round robin format in which each team will play both teams twice before qualification into the finals. Therefore
Zimbabwe still has a chance to get a place in the final. Australia ‘A’ will play against South Africa ‘A’ tomorrow at Harare Sports club.