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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
Zimbabwe stun Aussies in thriller
By Paresh Soni

ICC World Twenty20 Group B, Cape Town: Zimbabwe 139-5 (19.5 overs) bt Australia 138-9 (20 overs) by five wickets

The Zimbabwe team went on a lap of honour after their famous victory
The Zimbabwe team went on a lap of honour after their famous victory

Zimbabwe produced a magnificent display to stun favourites Australia by five wickets in the World Twenty20.

The 50-over world champions could only manage 138-9, with Elton Chigumbura (3-20) and Gary Brent (2-19) backed up by energetic fielding and good catches.

Vusi Sibanda (23) began the reply well but wickets slowed the scoring before rain forced a delay in Cape Town.

Brendan Taylor kept cool to hit 60 off 45 balls and the penultimate ball went for four leg-byes to seal a famous win.

It provided an early and dramatic twist in Group B, which also features England, who can eliminate the world's best team by beating them on Friday.

Ricky Ponting's men will need to improve considerably after a substantially below-par performance which continued the rustiness they showed in the warm-up matches.

Ponting became the first skipper in the tournament so far to opt to bat and soon saw Matthew Hayden edge behind, while Adam Gilchrist mis-timed a pull to deep mid-wicket to give Chigumbura two early victims.

Elton Chigumbura took three wickets as the Aussies struggled
Chigumbura took three wickets as the Aussies struggled

When Ponting heaved Brent down to third man, the Aussies were 19-3 and Sibanda struck another blow when he hit the target from point after Mike Hussey changed his mind over a quick single.

A slowish pitch and sluggish outfield made scoring boundaries difficult against Zimbabwe's medium-pacers and the first six arrived in the 14th over when Brad Hodge (35no) crashed Hamilton Masakadza over wide mid-on.

But two balls later Andrew Symonds (33) was stumped lunging forward to the medium-pacer.

Hodge, the leading run scorer in Twenty20 history, then launched Tawanda Mupariwa over the fence at deep mid-wicket for his second maximum and he remained their best hope of posting a challenging total.

606: DEBATE
Zimbo Gunner

However, Brad Haddin was snaffled at long-on, while Brett Lee clobbered Tatenda Taibu through the off-side for a six and four before losing his off-stump.

Mitchell Johnson was sent packing by a stunning throw from keeper Taylor which hit the single stump he had to aim at and Nathan Bracken sliced Chigumbura to deep cover.

Sibanda pouched with aplomb and then launched a series of terrific drives, crashing Bracken and Lee through the covers before hammering Bracken down the ground.

Ponting cut a worried figure but he was relieved when Sibanda edged behind trying to flay the left-armer away.

Taylor and Chigumbura were two of the heroes for Zimbabwe
Taylor and Chigumbura were two of the heroes for Zimbabwe

Justice Chibhabha made a confident start but got carried away and mis-timed another booming drive off Stuart Clark straight up in the air, Gilchrist pouncing, while Taibu edged Johnson behind to no doubt create palpitations in the Zimbabwean dressing room.

The boundaries dried up as the seamers started pitching the ball shorter and Matsikenyeri should have been run out by Hodge at one end and by the fielder backing up at the other.

With the rain coming down hard, the sense of drama was heightened when Matsikenyeri skied a catch off Clark to keeper Gilchrist and the seamer ended with excellent figures of 2-22.

When the umpires called a halt not long after the Aussies were firmly back in the game but Taylor cracked two big straight sixes off Hodge to bring the game back to the boil.

He got to his fifty off 38 balls and 23 were needed off the last three overs but clever bowling from Johnson and Lee denied the batsmen the room to clear the field.

Masakadza (27) was lbw trying to do that against Lee and 12 were required off the final over.

Taylor got an inside edge of the first ball from Bracken which evaded the fielder at deep backward square-leg and when the fifth delivery was speared down the leg-side by Bracken, it flicked off his pads to spark scenes of unbridled jubilation.



SEE ALSO
Ponting will join Australia squad
07 Sep 07 |  Australia
Lee ready to lead Aussie attack
29 Aug 07 |  Australia
Aussie Tait misses World Twenty20
20 Aug 07 |  Australia
Zimbabwe replace Curran as coach
27 Aug 07 |  Zimbabwe


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