The hosts suffered their fourth straight T20I tri-series loss at the hands of Australia despite a late rally as the match went down to the wire at the Harare Sports Club.
By SportBrief Reporter
Australia completed a 5-wicket victory against Zimbabwe despite the hosts coming up strong in the latter stages of the tri-series encounter.
The match was essentially a dead rubber as the Aussies had already qualified for the T20I tri-series final where they will take on Pakistan.
However, the Chevrons were looking to salvage some pride having not won a single match in the tournament. With the hosts winning the toss, they went in to bat first.
But yet again, the Chevrons flattered to deceive with the bat aside from yet another spirited performance by Solomon Mire (63), who scored his second consecutive half-century to give the bowlers something to work with.
Cephas Zhuwawo (0) went out on the very first ball of the innings while captain Hamilton Masakadza (13) failed to lead by example once again as the hosts found themselves in a spot of bother at 44 for 3 in the sixth over.
The wickets kept tumbling in and around Mire and with the exception of PJ Moor (30), the rest of Zimbabwe’s batting order was a disappointment as they eventually labored to 151/9 off their allotted 20 overs.
In response, Australia got off to a sluggish start as they lost two quick wickets in Captain Aaron Finch (3) and Alex Carey (16) with Washington Masakadza and Muzarabani removing the danger men.
But Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell, in desperate need of a hit in the middle, propelled the team forward in the chase with a 106-run stand.
Maxwell (56) fell soon after reaching his half-century but by then Australia needed 23 off 23. Maddinson came and failed while Head too was dismissed for 48, 13 shy of the target. The chase was done and dusted by the 14th over as Maxwell and Head bullied the Zimbabwe bowlers into submission before a late wobble put the Australian middle-order in the spotlight again.
After the removal of Maddinson and Head in the space of six balls, the visitors were pegged back and with the game going right down to the wire, Marcus Stoinis just managed to get the Aussies over the line, hitting a four to hand his side the win in the fifth delivery of the last over.
The loss capped off a largely disappointing tournament for the hosts as they exit without having won a single match and a perhaps more telling conclusion based on their failure in the batting department is that they are sorely missing the services of Sikandar Raza and Brandon Taylor.