ODI tri-series 1st Match: Maxwell and Marsh pummel Zimbabwe

Marsh was named Man of the Match for excelling with both the bat and ball

Marsh was named Man of the Match for excelling with both the bat and ball

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Australia all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh both scored scintillating half-centuries to pummel Zimbabwe by 198 runs in Harare.

While Maxwell and Marsh stole the spotlight for their entertaining knocks, Zimbabwe batsman Hamilton Masakadza deserves some credit as he scored a gutsy 70.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura would have been regretting his decision to bowl first after Australia’s opening pair of Aaron Finch and Brad Haddin amassed a 98-run partnership before he himself made the breakthrough when Haddin deflected the ball onto his stumps on 46.

Finch went on to score 67 off 79 balls, which included five boundaries and three sixes, before he was caught by Vusi Sibanda, who was the substitute fielder, at deep backward square leg off the bowling of John Nyumbu.

Finch got Australia off to a strong start

Finch got Australia off to a strong start

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Australia stand-in captain George Bailey only made 14 runs before he was caught by Prosper Utseya off the bowling of Sean Williams.

Marsh and Maxwell stabilised the innings with a 109-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Marsh was caught by Sikandar Raza at long-on off the bowling of Tendai Chatara.

Marsh’s excellent knock of 89 came off 83 balls and included seven boundaries and four sixes.

Steven Smith failed to have an impact with the bat as he was run out by Raza for one run.

Maxwell ended up making 93 off just 46 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and five sixes, before he was caught by Tino Mawoyo at long-off off the bowling of Chatara.

Maxwell executes the switch hit to perfection during his outstanding knock of 93

Maxwell executes the switch hit to perfection during his outstanding knock of 93

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Australia eventually finished on 350/6 off their 50 overs thanks to Mitchell Johnson’s quickfire innings of 20.

Chatara was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Nyumbu, Williams and Chigumbura chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing a mammoth 351 to win, Zimbabwe got off to a horrible start as Mawoyo was given out lbw off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for one run.

Raza and Masakadza made up for the early loss of Mawoyo with a 63-run partnership before Raza was caught by Marsh at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Nathan Lyon for 33.

Brendan Taylor scored 10 runs before he was caught by Finch at first slip off the bowling of Johnson.

Chigumbura failed to save his side as he was caught behind off the bowling of James Faulkner for a duck.

Williams fared no better as he was caught by Maxwell at cover off the bowling of Marsh for one run.

Richmond Mutumbami mustered 11 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Lyon.

Masakadza ended up making 70 off 91 balls, which included six boundaries and a six, before he was stumped by Haddin off the bowling of Smith.

Masakadza made a valiant 70

Masakadza made a valiant 70

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Following Masakadza’s dismissal, Zimbabwe’s lower order completely collapsed as they went from 138/7 to being bowled out for 152.

Smith was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Lyon and Starc snapped up two wickets apiece and Johnson, Marsh and Faulkner claimed one wicket each.

Chigumbura admitted that his side were “outplayed”, and said: “[We were] outplayed, as simple as that. We have to keep working hard and play a different game next time. The main focus is on our batting but we keep losing wickets. We have two more games so we have to keep working hard. [We] need to lift our spirits up and hopefully things will change in the next game.”

Bailey was pleased to have started the tournament on a positive note, and said: “Outstanding stand from Finch and Haddin and great innings from Mitch and Maxi took us to a huge total. And great work from our bowlers too. Plenty of things to improve on – no hundreds within our group. It was a good one-day wicket and there was a bit there with new ball, it slowed in the middle and the ball got soft later. Maxi’ shots showed the quality of hitting, it wasn’t so easy to bat on.”

Marsh edged out Maxwell for the Man of the Match award, and said: “I didn’t start slow on purpose, it took time to adjust to the wicket and we had wickets in hand so that helped. I like the No. 3 position, it was a great opportunity and hopefully I can play there more. When the wickets are flat, I’m definitely a batter.”

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