Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
THE government has congratulated the Zimbabwe cricket team for their three wicket win over the mighty Australia at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The win by the brave Zimbabweans was their first against the Aussies since 1983 and it came against all odds as few gave the boys a chance against the tourists.
In the 30th ODI meeting between these sides, Zimbabwe did what they had not for 31 years and beat Australia.
The captain, Elton Chigumbura, engineered the chase that changed 11,406 days of history, after his spinners had applied a stranglehold that kept Australia to their lowest total against Zimbabwe, and achieved only their second win against these opponents.
Chigumbura’s opposite number, Michael Clarke, battled a hamstring niggle that ruled him out of the rest of the tri-series, and held his side together on a spin-friendly surface on which none of the other Australian batsmen settled.
But Zimbabwe’s challenge was always going to be chasing a total over 200 – they were dismissed for less in their last four ODIs – and when Nathan Lyon picked up career-best figures and they were reduced to 156 for 7, another collapse seemed likely. A 55-run stand between Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya for the eighth wicket ensured Zimbabwe did not fold and sent Harare Sports Club into frenzied celebration.
An elated Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Andrew Langa last night told Chronicle Sport that the boys have made the country proud while also sending a clear message to the cricket world that the sport is still very much alive in the country.
“This is indeed a huge achievement by our cricket team. I want to send my hearty congratulations to them and indeed the entire country for this feat. They did us proud as a nation. I am aware that they have not beaten the Aussies for quite a while but that is all history now,” said Minister Langa.
He said the win was only the beginning of better things to come and was proof enough that Zimbabwe can still be counted among the great sporting nations of the world.
“Despite the criticism that we have been getting from some quarters, we still managed to stop the Australians and for us to continue posting such results we need unity, discipline and to be well organised in our approach to sporting issues. I am aware that the patron of this team is none other than His Excellency, President Mugabe and I know for certain that he is a happy man today, very happy in fact,” said Minister Langa.
Zimbabwe have not managed a score of over 200 in their last four ODIs and have been bowled out in all of their last six matches.
Meanwhile, cricket stars from around the world took to their twitter accounts to post congratulatory messages to the Zimbabwe cricket squad.
Afghanistan’s right handed batsman Mohammed Shahzad said Zimbabwe played some fantastic game and his sentiments were echoed by the legendary South African cricketer AB de Villiers.
Also sending her message of congratulations was Zimbabwe’s golden girl Kirsty Coventry.
I was watching #AusvZim and there is no doubt Zimbabwe played fantastic game congrats to @ZimCricketv @BrendanTaylor86 & co.
AB de Villiers
Our neighbours playing a good game of Cricket today. Well done Elton @BrendanTaylor86 and co.
Sanath Jayasuriya @sanath07
Well played Zimbabwe
Alan Butcher @abutch58
Great win for Zimbabwe. HSC will be buzzing tonight!