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Monday, February 21, 2011

Australia beat Zimbabwe by 91 runs

Australia beat Zimbabwe by 91 runsAHMEDABAD: Defending champions Australia recorded a 91-run victory over Zimbabwe in their opening World Cup match on Monday.

Chasing 263 runs, Zimbabwe were all out for 171 in 46.2 overs after their bowlers made the Aussies struggle in the early overs.

Main scorers for Zimbabwe were Graeme Cremer (37), Sean Williams (28) and Prosper Utseya (24).

For Australia, Mitchell Johnson was the most successful bowler taking three wickets for 19 runs while Shaun Tait and Jason Krezja captured two wickets each.

Earlier, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke hit half-centuries as Australia overcame early struggles against spin.

In-form Watson, who cracked one six and eight fours in a 92-ball 79, added 61 for the first wicket with Brad Haddin (29) and 79 for the second with skipper Ricky Ponting (28).

Clarke provided the late flourish with a 55-ball 58 not out as Australia plundered 90 runs in the closing 10 overs to set a challenging target for Zimbabwe after electing to bat in the day-night match.

Zimbabwe's specialist spinners Ray Price, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer tied the Australian batsmen down, preventing them from scoring freely.

Left-arm spinner Price, who shared the new ball with seamer Christopher Mpofu, was instrumental in keeping the run-rate low early in the innings with a tidy line and length. He finished with 1-43 off 10 overs.

Off-spinner Utseya and leg-spinner Cremer bagged one wicket apiece, conceding 84 runs in a combined tally of 20 overs.

In a rare show of aggression in the early overs, Watson and Haddin smashed two fours apiece in a Mpofu over, but skipper Elton Chigumbura promptly turned to spin.

Utseya provided the breakthrough when he trapped Haddin lbw, with Zimbabwe asking for a review of the umpire's decision after the batsman had initially been given not out.

Watson was also ruled out lbw off Cremer following a referral, but not before he had set the stage for the final onslaught.

Ponting was run out after a brilliant piece of fielding by Mpofu, who hit the stumps at the non-striker's end from deep midwicket.

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