Taylor takes the team home with a ball to spare

CAPE TOWN: Zimbabwe pulled off a shock five-wicket victory against Australia in a World Twenty20 match here on Wednesday, winning with one ball to spare.

“I’m embarrassed and it’s not often I’ve walked off a cricket field feeling that way,” Australia captain Ricky Ponting said.

Zimbabwe first restricted Australia to 138 for nine with some brilliant fielding after being asked to bowl by Ponting at the Newlands Stadium. Brendan Taylor then scored an unbeaten 60 in Zimbabwe’s total of 139 for five.

“This is the only team we have beaten other than Bangladesh,” said Taylor, as his teammates celebrated in front of Zimbabwean students who braved intermittent rain showers.

Terrible start

The Australian top order crumbled to 19 for three in the face of simple, straight bowling by Zimbabwe. Ponting (8) and Adam Gilchrist (4) both skied catches, while Hayden hit the ball hard into the deep to hole out for four.

Andrew Symonds and Brad Hodge tried to reconstruct the innings, but Symonds lost his footing while giving part-time bowler Hamilton Masakadza the charge and was stumped for 33.

Hodge tried to get the tail to bat around him, scoring an undefeated 35 off 22 balls as he pushed the total to something that the bowlers could defend.

Elton Chigumbura was the best Zimbabwe bowler with three for 20 off three overs.

In reply, Taylor’s 60 propelled Zimbabwe’s chase, coming off 45 balls with four 4s and two 6s.

He was supported by breezy knocks from fellow opener Vusi Sibanda, who hit 23 in 15 balls in an opening stand of 31, and Masakadza, who scored 27 off 28.

The Zimbabwe innings was interrupted by rain when it was 74 for four in 11.5 overs. At that stage, Australia was five runs ahead in the Duckworth-Lewis method.

When play resumed half-an-hour later, Taylor slammed two sixes in an over off part-time spinner Brad Hodge as he and Masakadza shared a 53-run stand.

Brett Lee trapped Masakadza in front and Zimbabwe needed 12 off the last over.

A leg glance for four by Taylor off the first ball and four leg-byes off the fifth ball got Zimbabwe home with a ball to spare.

Zimbabwe coach Robin Brown said he had reminded his players of a historic day 24 years ago.

“In our first World Cup in 1983 our first game was against Australia and we managed to beat them,” said Brown.

“I reminded them of that and told the guys to go out and express themselves in our first World Twenty20 game,” he added.

Ponting said the fact that it was Australia’s first competitive game since it won the World Cup in the West Indies in April was no excuse. “They outplayed us,” he said about the Zimbabweans.

“They did most things in the game better than us.” — Agencies

SCOREBOARD Australia: A. Gilchrist c Matsikenyeri b Chigumbura 4, M. Hayden c Taylor b Chigumbura 4, R. Ponting c Chigumbura b Brent 8, A. Symonds st. Taylor b Masakadza 33, M. Hussey (run out) 15, B. Hodge (not out) 35, B. Haddin c Chigumbura b Utseya 6, B. Lee b Brent 13, M. Johnson (run out) 9, N. Bracken c Sibanda b Chigumbura 4; Extras (b-1, w-6): 7. Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 138.

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-12, 3-19, 4-48, 5-86, 6-102, 7-119, 8-134, 9-138.

Zimbabwe bowling: Chigumbura 3-0-20-3, Brent 4-0-19-2, Mupariwa 3-0-23-0, Chibhabha 3-0-17-0, Utseya 4-0-28-1, Taibu 2-0-21-0, Masakadza 1-0-9-1.

Zimbabwe: V. Sibanda c Gilchrist b Bracken 23, B. Taylor (not out) 60, C. Chibhabha c Gilchrist b Clark 15, T. Taibu c Gilchrist b Johnson 0, S. Matsikenyeri c Gilchrist b Clark 3, H. Masakadza lbw b Lee 27, E. Chigumbura (not out) 4; Extras (lb-4, w-3): 7.

Total (for five wkts. in 19.5 overs): 139.

Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-54, 3-55, 4-70, 5-123.

Australia bowling: Lee 4-0-31-1, Bracken 3.5-0-25-1, Clark 4-0-22-2, Johnson 4-0-26-1, Symonds 2-0-11-0, Hodge 2-0-20-0.

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