Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Zimbabwe shock the Aussies

AFP , CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Zimbabwe batsman Hamilton Masakadza strikes the ball during the World Twenty20 Championship game against Australia at Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: EPA

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said his team's top batsmen had not shown enough respect for cricket when they crashed to a shock five-wicket defeat against minnows Zimbabwe in their World Twenty20 match at Newlands on Wednesday.

Victorious Zimbabwe coach Robin Brown, meanwhile, said he had reminded his players of a historic day 24 years ago before they took on the World Cup and Test champions.

"In our first World Cup in 1983 our first game was against Australia and we managed to beat them," Brown said. "I reminded them of that and told the guys to go out and express themselves in our first World Cup Twenty20 game."

Australia limped to 138 for nine in their 20 overs after Ponting became the first captain in the tournament to choose to bat. Man of the match Brendan Taylor scored 60 not out as Zimbabwe won with a ball to spare.

The Australians paid the penalty for trying to attack from the start of their innings, losing their top three of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and captain Ricky Ponting for 19 runs inside the first four overs. All fell to rash strokes.

"That was where the game was lost," Ponting said. "The top three batters didn't respect their own game enough. When you don't respect this game it gets up and bites you."

Ponting said the fact that it was Australia's first competitive game since they won the World Cup in the West Indies in April was no excuse.

"They outplayed us," he said of the Zimbabweans. "They did most things in the game better than us."

The defeat left the tournament favorites needing to win their remaining group game against England at Newlands today if they are not to go home early.

Ponting singled out Taylor as an example to the Australians for sticking to cricket basics and building his innings.

Told of Ponting's comment, Taylor said: "That's a great compliment because we try to model ourselves on them."

"I told them to keep the celebrations until tomorrow [Thursday] night when we have beaten England. Then we can have a full go," Brown said.

Zimbabwe's innings was interrupted by rain when they were on 74 for four after 11.5 overs. At that stage Australia were five runs ahead according to 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 Hamilton Masakadza shared a 53-run stand.

Brett Lee trapped Masakadza leg before wicket for 27 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.

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