Glenn Maxwell (left) scored a brisk half-century in Australia’s win. © AFP
Australia came into the contest against Zimbabwe aiming to polish all the rough edges ahead of the T20I tri-series final against Pakistan. However, they will enter the all-important clash with the same worries they had ahead of the clash. While they did seal a win over the hosts – this time by seven wickets in Harare – the middle-order is yet to produce a substantial performance to inspire confidence.
Australia probably would have wanted to bat first but with the toss not going in their favour, they were asked to chase. Once set 152, a below-par target, they had a splendid opportunity to experiment and yet there were no surprises. With D’Arcy Short dropped, Aaron Finch walked out to open with Alex Carey. Finch’s early dismissal came as a blessing in disguise for the visitors as the onus fell upon the middle-order to complete the chase.
Carey, too, failed and was dismissed in the fifth over. Australia had made a slow start with just 35 coming in the Powerplay. Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell, in desperate need of a hit in the middle, propelled the team forward in the chase with a 106-run stand. While it was certainly a promising sign of two individuals taking responsibility, Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis and Jack Wildermuth, who made his debut in the game, head into the final without much time in the middle.
Maxwell fell soon after reaching his half-century but by then Australia needed 23 off 23. Maddinson came and failed while Head too was dismissed for 48, 13 shy of the target. The chase was done and dusted by the 14th over as Maxwell and Head bullied the Zimbabwe bowlers into submission before a late wobble put the Australian middle-order in the spotlight again.
Earlier, Solomon Mire (63) scored his second consecutive half-century to give the bowlers something to work with. In yet another disappointing performance, the hosts found themselves in plenty of trouble at 44 for 3 in the sixth over. They were in danger of folding for a paltry target before Peter Moor and Mire steadied the innings.
After 44 runs came in the Powerplay, Zimbabwe scored just 35 in the next seven overs. This was when Moor and Mire laid the platform for the late flourish. The duo scored 43 runs in the four overs leading up to Moor’s wicket in the 16th over. That dismissal also opened the floodgates as they lost six wickets in the last seven overs after scoring 72 runs. Mire reached his half century off 44 deliveries and pushed the team towards the 150-run mark before falling in the final over.
Australia will play Pakistan in the final at the same venueon Sunday(July 8).
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 151/9 in 20 overs (Solomon Mire 63; Andrew Tye 3-38) lost to Australia 154/5 in 19.5 overs (Glenn Maxwell 56) by five wickets.
Shared News | Last updated on Fri, 06 Jul, 2018, 05:34 PM