Warm-up: Australia rout Zimbabawe by 106 runs

Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 19:54 [IST]
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More imagesKingstown (St Vincent):Reigning champions Australia thrashed Zimbabwe by 106 runs in their opening World Cup warm-up match at Arnos Vale here on Tuesday.

All-rounders Michael Clarke (82), who scored at better than a run-a-ball, and Shane Watson (81) led the way in a total of 290 for seven that the keen Africans never looked like surpassing it.

But Zimbabwe, without several first choice players through a combination of political boycotts and pay disputes, kept Australia in the field for the full 50 overs before finishing on 184 for seven.

Nevertheless, Australia captain Ricky Ponting was happy to have spent time in the field ahead of Friday's second and final warm-up match against old rivals England, who dismissed Bermuda inside 23 overs during their 241 run walkover on Monday.

"Ours was a better workout than they (England) got. At this stage of the tournament most teams are looking to get some quality time in the middle and we got through 100 overs today," said Ponting.

And he insisted he hadn't been taken aback by Zimbabwe's spirited effort with the bat.

"In one-day cricket on wickets like that, which are really slow and low, it can be quite difficult to bowl teams out. I wasn't surprised today and it was probably more beneficial to us that we didn't."

Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya was pleased by his side's batting display but left rueing a fielding performance that saw three catches dropped.

"We could have kept them to 240 if we had taken all our chances. We let them off the hook a little bit."

Stand-in openers Watson (81) and Brad Haddin (47) saw Australia off to a solid start although all three of Australia's top scorers were dropped once.

Clarke, also bowled off a no-ball, was missed on 58 when he hit left-arm spinner Sean Williams straight to Terry Duffin at cover.

In all he faced 81 balls with one six and six fours before being caught by Gary Brent on the long-off boundary off paceman Christopher Mpofu.

Zimbabwe had only made 11 inside six overs when Duffin was caught by wicket-keeper Haddin off left-arm quick Nathan Bracken for five.

A fourth wicket stand of 67 between Sean Williams (44) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (35) held Australia up, both batsmen lofting spinners Brad Hodge and Brad Hogg for boundaries.

Earlier, Watson opened with Matthew Hayden still nursing a toe injury.

Haddin's chance came following the late arrival here on Monday of first choice gloveman and opener Adam Gilchrist after the birth of his third child.

Australia had been looking at a score of 300 plus but several batsmen got themselves out, with only Ponting, who won the toss, undone by a good ball when he edged an Elton Chigumbura leg-cutter to wicket-keeper Brendan Taylor.

Watson was missed on 66, dropped on the boundary by Anthony Ireland off Williams. But Williams did dismiss Clarke, cutting to Chigumbura at backward point. Clarke faced 89 balls with two sixes and nine fours.

Zimbabwe play Bermuda in their final warm-up match here Thursday.

Brief Scores

Australia 290 for 7 in 50 overs (Michael Clarke 82, Shane Watson 81, Brad Haddin 47; Sean Williams 2 for 48, Mpofu 1 for 44) beat Zimbabwe 184 for 7 in 50 overs ( S Williams 44, S Matsikenyeri 35, Chibhabha 22; Stuart Clark 2 for 33, Bracken 1 for 8, McGrath 1 for 8) by 106 runs.


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