Historic win implies Zimbabwe on right track


Zimbabwe have pulled off one of the biggest one-day international (ODI) upsets in recent memory, shocking Australia with a three-wicket win after Ryan Burl’s maiden five-wicket haul yesterday.

After being outclassed in the opening two matches, losing by five wickets and by eight wickets, Zimbabwe’s response in the third ODI was emphatic with the ball.

Skipper Regis Chakabva guided the Chevrons to a three-wicket triumph in Townsville with an unbeaten 37 after leg-spinner Ryan Burl registered a career-best 5-10 as Australia were dismissed for just 141.

Zimbabwe cricket coach Dave Houghton is hopeful his team’s first victory over Australia away from home will help provide more clashes with top-tier teams.

Houghton said the victory on a difficult and spicy Riverway Stadium wicket should help secure greater opportunities against cricketing powerhouses.

“I hope it goes a long way to providing that,” he told reporters after the historic win. The more wins we can get on in tours like this, the more that our chances are we might get some bigger opponents on a regular basis.”

Houghton said the gulf between his side and major cricketing nations was still wide, but Saturday’s result would give belief to his players.

“If we’d lost the toss today, we would have seen a game similar to the second game. The gulf is huge - make no error — we would struggle to beat your state sides on a good day,” he said.

“We are growing and hopefully we grow quite quickly and with the amount of cricket we’re starting to play and the fact that we are getting a few results like this — it’s nice to get these little reward top ups to show the guys what they're doing is right.”

Leg-spinner Ryan Burl (5-10) played a starring role in dismissing the hosts for a lowly 141. Part-time leg-spinner Burl was the sixth bowler used by Zimbabwe captain Regis Chakabva.

Houghton said that he delivered a stern chat that reaped rewards when part-time leg-spinner Burl.

“I had a chat with our spinners today because I wasn’t happy with the way we’d bowled in the first two games,” Houghton told the reporters.

“I didn’t want our spinners to be bits and pieces’ cricketers. I want them to bowl like spinners, which means you have to be on the spot from ball one.

“And I thought both Sean (Williams) and ‘Burly’ did that today.”

Burl admitted that the conditions and the pitch, which had been used for the opening two matches, were offering plenty of assistance for the spinners.

“I was bowling quite a lot into the wind (so) it came out a bit slower,” Burl told Foxtel after his stunning haul.

“I found today there was quite a bit of drift, which helped, and also a bit of turn, which helped a lot.

“I wouldn’t have believed it, but here we are.”

Following the scalp of Maxwell, which broke a crucial 57-run stand, the wickets of Ashton Agar, David Warner, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood followed in his next 14 balls.

His five wickets for 10 runs are the second-best figures ever taken by a visiting spinner in Australia in men’s ODIs, behind only India’s Yuzvendra Chahal, who took 6-42 in 2019.

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