Australia recorded their lowest team result in ODI history against Zimbabwe, with just two players reaching double digits in Saturday’s series final at Riverway Stadium.
Leg spinner Ryan Burl became the first Zimbabwean to earn a five-wicket win in ODI cricket against Australia, posting a career-best performance of 5 from 10 from three overs to claw his way through the lower league.
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The Australian top orderer was plagued by poor shot selection in the third ODI, attacking unnecessarily and throwing down their wicket cheaply.
The tired Townsville pitch admittedly lined with a variable bounce, but that didn’t excuse the hosts for being rolled out for 141 in 31 overs.
“There was quite a bit of drift, which helped, and a lot of spin,” Burl told Fox Cricket during the innings break.
It is the first time Zimbabwe has won 10 wickets in an ODI game against Australia.
Australia’s lowest ODI team totals vs Zimbabwe
209/9 – Harare, 2014
225/8 – Sydney, 2004
235/9 – Chennai, 1987
After winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Zimbabwe’s sailors took three wickets during the power play to shake the Australian camp.
Skipper Aaron Finch was the first domino to fall by making a delivery from Richard Ngarava in second place and making his way back to the sheds for 5.
It was almost identical to his dismissal in the previous ODI as he cautiously pushed out of the stump with unbalanced footwork.
Steve Smith was then left red-faced after leaving a delivery from Victor Nyauchi who slammed into his front block – the former Australia captain sheepishly walked back to the sheds after Hawkeye replays showed the Kookaburra in his middle would have crashed.
And Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey didn’t last much longer, batting wildly at a delivery from Brad Evans that flicked the outside edge and left for 4.
The Aussies were suddenly 3/31 in the ninth over but the carnage was far from over when all-rounder Marcus Stoinis feathered a catch on Zimbabwe’s skipper Regis Chakabva for 3.
And young prodigy Cameron Green followed shortly thereafter, chipping a delivery from Zimbabwe veteran Sean Williams straight to the cover fielder to leave Australia at 5/72.
As wickets continued to tumble around him, veteran opener David Warner proved his class by setting a 26th ODI half-century in the 15th century and hitting the minor milestone with 47 deliveries.
He linked with Glenn Maxwell in a crucial 57-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Maxwell became Burl’s first victim in the 27th over.
Warner retired in the 29th century, bringing Burl outfield at 94 to agonizingly miss his long-awaited century.
The Zimbabwe tweaker then batted off the Australian tail, taking five wickets in 18 deliveries to complete the historic demolition.
“Australia will probably be hurt by this,” former New Zealand cricketer Ian Smith told Fox Cricket.
“Pretty average performance, to be fair… it was as un-Australian, as non-dominant, as you would expect from Zimbabwe.
“It’s so out of character.”
Warner was responsible for 67 per cent of runs in Australia, the second-highest percentage of individual runs in an innings in men’s ODI cricket.
Zimbabwe needs 142 in the chase to secure its third ODI win over Australia.
Highest percentage of team runs in men’s ODI innings
69.48 percent – Viv Richards vs ENG, 1984
66.67 percent – David Warner vs. ZIM, 2022
65.78 percent – Kapil Dev vs. ZIM, 1983
65.34 percent – Rohit Sharma vs. SL, 2014
64.25 percent – Tony Ura vs. IRE, 2018