Australia 135/3 beat Zimbabwe 134 (Bartlett 3/20) by 7 wickets with 31.4 overs remaining
Lincoln — The Zimbabwe Under-19 team’s hopes of qualifying for the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup went up in smoke yesterday after a seven-wicket thrashing by Australia in a Group B match at Lincoln, New Zealand.
After a comprehensive win over Papua New Guinea in their opening match, Zimbabwe could have secured their passage to the next with a victory over Australia.
But they were left disappointed after failing to build on that strong opening showing and capitalised on the weaknesses that Australia displayed against group leaders India, who they now have to beat to have a chance of progressing.
Reaching triple figures seemed at one point beyond Zimbabwe when they fell to 87/8, and it was only some tail-end pluck from number eight, Robert Chimhinya, who top-scored with 27, and Tinashe Nenhunzi that helped them reach a still-meagre 134.
Australia, particularly Jack Edwards, flew off in response. The opener had impressed against India, top-scoring for his side, but had struggled to score fluently.
Here he showed he could thrive as well as survive with a 20-ball 40, which contained seven fours and a six. The cameo put Australia well on their way and ensured there were no early jitters.
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Australia’s other opener, Max Bryant was also spritely in making 44 off 27, while the other major contributor was Sangha, who made a more sedate 30 before Jonathan Merlo finished the job.
Australian captain, Jason Sangha will surely be glad his side responded to a setback in the best possible way, and put themselves back on course for a quarter-final berth.
Sangha won the toss and chose to bowl; with rain set to arrive in the afternoon, he perhaps wanted to chase to know, where his side stood in terms of DLS targets.
As it was, the game was almost done by lunch, Australia combining superbly to dismiss Zimbabwe for 134 before racing to 85/1 in 10 overs by the interval, finally reaching their target in less than 19 overs.
The destroyer-in-chief was opening bowler, Xavier Bartlett, who claimed the first three wickets, finishing with figures of 3/20 from his seven overs, a stark contrast to his analysis of 0/47 from seven against India.
Zimbabwe will now take on India tomorrow, needing to win and hope that Australia lose to group’s weakling Papua New Guinea to have a chance.
The top two teams from the group go through to the quarter-final stages, with Zimbabwe currently third in the group behind India and Australia.