Zimbabwe beat Australia in an ODI after 31 years © AFP
Zimbabwe beat Australia in an ODI after 31 years © AFP

Zimbabwe ended their miserable seven-match losing streak by clinching a three-wicket victory against Australia in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) of the triangular series at Harare. The match was a see-saw affair, with both teams gaining the upper hand during various moments in the match. Sameer Jha looks at some of the highlights of the match.

Zimbabwe finally beat Australia in a One-Day International (ODI) after 31 years. In the presence of some great support at the Harare Sports Club, Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya sealed the victory and gave their fans great joy. Let us revisit some important highlights of the match.

Australia’s batting collapse: Aaron Finch, who had scored a century in the previous ODI, fell in just the third over to John Nyumbu. Philip Hughes fell shortly after, and George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell too didn’t have a long stay at the crease leaving the Australians reeling at 57 for four. The visitors recovered courtesy a gritty partnership between Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin.

Michael Clarke retired hurt: In the 41st over, Michael Clarke walked back to the pavilion retired hurt. The Australian skipper had missed Australia’s first two matches due to a hamstring injury, and it resurfaced in the match. In the post-match presentation, Clarke revealed that he’ll be flying back to Australia to tend to his injury. Certainly, the tour to Zimbabwe would be a forgettable one for him — he played just one game, and saw his team lose to the hosts.

Brad Haddin and Ben Cutting’s quickfire partnership: Brad Haddin and Ben Cutting constructed a quickfire 50-run partnership in only 33 balls to get the Australian total past the 200-mark. Their bowlers almost defended the total, and this partnership may just have turned out to be match-winning had Utseya or Chigumbura failed.

Nathan Lyon magic: Lyon made the most of the opportunity he was given. The Zimbabwean batsman looked uncomfortable against him on a spin-friendly Harare track, and he took four crucial wickets to rock the Zimbabwean middle-order.

Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza put up spirited stand: Before Utseya and Chigumbura, Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza had combined to form what looked like a partnership that set a good platformh.  In tandem, they added 66 runs to the Zimbabwean total. However, they fell in quick succession leaving the hosts in massive trouble.

Michael Clarke bowls the 46th over: With just 11 runs needed for Zimbabwe to win, Clarke walked up to bowl a crucial 46th over and almost produced a wicket.

The Chigumbura-Utseya show: Both batsman batted with just the right mix of caution and aggression to help the Zimbabweans secure only their second win against Australia in ODIs. Utseya’s whose incredible hat-trick against the South Africans had gone in vain, sealed the historic win with a superb six!

(Sameer Jha is a reporter at cricketcountry.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha_)