GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Three crucial run outs off wide deliveries helped propel Zimbabwe to an exciting one-run win over Australia in their World Twenty20 Championship warm-up game at the Beausejour Cricket Ground last evening.
Chasing Zimbabwe’s 173 for seven off 20 overs, Australia reached 172 for seven despite gathering 31 runs in the final two overs, to fall painstakingly short of their target.
Australia’s charge was led by the big-hitting left hander opener David Warner who pulverised the Zimbabwe bowling for 72 off 49 balls with five sixes and four fours.
Captain Michael Clarke joined the fray, smashing 49 from 42 balls that included four crisp boundaries, and added 78 for the second wicket off 65 balls with Warner.
When Warner gave leg-spinner Graeme Cremer a return catch in the 14th over, Clarke posted another 35 runs from 23 balls for the third wicket with David Hussey (16).
Hussey became off-spinner Prosper Utseya’s second wicket while Brad Haddin smashed a six in scoring 13 from six balls before becoming the first of two batsmen – Steve Smith was the other – to be run out off consecutive wides in the 19th over as Australia stumbled to 156 for five.
Clarke was the sixth wicket to fall, bowled while attempting a reverse sweep off Chris Mpofu.
With 13 needed in the final over Mitchell Johnson was the third run out victim off a wide delivery as Australia failed to reach their target.
Earlier, Elton Chigumbura blasted an entertaining 76 to haul Zimbabwe around from a shaky position of 36 for four after they won the toss and chose to bat.
He punished all bowlers hitting six huge sixes and five fours before he was caught by Smith on the long-off boundary seeking a third consecutive six off medium pacer Shane Watson.
Chigubura posted 114 for the fifth wicket with Sean Ervine whose 39 came from 30 balls.
Left-armer Johnson was the most successful bowler for the Australians claiming four for 23 from his four overs.