ZIMBABWE’S hopes of progressing beyond the Super Six stage of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup are in tatters after a 225-run defeat to Australia in the penultimate round of first round matches.
Zimbabwe now need to beat Namibia in tomorrow’s final match of the first round as the Top 3 teams move into the next stage.
However, given that Super Six teams carry forward points against fellow qualifiers back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia means whoever wins the clash tomorrow will progress empty-handed.
That then makes it virtually impossible to secure a top two finish in the Super Six groups for a place in the semi-final.
Opting to bat first in Kimberley, which had notably produced low-scoring games in the tournament so far, Australia got off to a promising start in the Powerplay.
Harry Dixon and Sam Konstas reeled off seven boundaries in the first 10 overs, mixing caution with good intent.
The first breakthrough didn’t come until the 19th over when off-spinner Brendon Sunguro came around the wicket to the right-handed Konstas and cleaned him up by piercing the gap between bat and pad.
Hugh Weibgen, who had played a key role in Australia’s win over Namibia in a low-scoring affair earlier in the week at the same venue, walked in and teamed up with Dixon to pile on the runs.
Boundaries flooded for Australia post Konstas’ dismissal as Dixon and Weibgen took the attack to Zimbabwe. Dixon looked set for a hundred, but Sunguro returned to bowl him for 89 to give Zimbabwe a wicket against the run of play.
The Aussies came out all guns blazing with the ball, reducing Zimbabwe to 3 for 3 inside the first three overs.
Mahli Beardman took the new ball this game and made an instant impact with two wickets in his opening over.
Charlie Anderson bowled Campbell MacMillan in the next over as three of the top four batters fell for a duck.
Just as Zimbabwe were trying to consolidate, a run-out brought another wicket for Australia as the impressive Konstas produced a direct hit that caught Nathaniel Hlabangana short.