AUS vs ZIM, 1st ODI: Preview, stats, and Fantasy XI
Australia will host Zimbabwe for a three-match ODI series, with the first ODI set to take place on August 28. Ace leg-spinner Adam Zampa returns to international cricket, having last played in April. As for Zimbabwe, although they suffered a recent 3-0 drubbing against India, they could give the Aussies a run for the money. Here is the match preview.
The Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville will host this affair. It promises to be a decent batting track with support for the bowlers as well. Chasing sides have won both the one-dayers played at this venue. Rains could hamper the play near the midway mark and later stages. The match will be live-streamed on the Fancode app (5:10 AM IST).
Against Australia, Zimbabwe have managed only two wins in 30 face-offs (L 27, NR 1). Interestingly, Australia last played a bilateral series in Zimbabwe in May 2004, which they won by a 3-0 margin. Prior to that, the Aussies had won the home series (3-0).
Australia will be hoping to shrug off the 3-2 defeat against the Lankans in June. David Warner and Aaron Finch remain the linchpins with the bat. Glenn Maxwell has been striking exceptionally well this year, with 160 runs in ODIs at 40.00. Zampa will be lethal if there's even a tinge of turn on offer. Pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have important roles.
Zimbabwe have played a laudable brand of cricket in the last few months. They outclassed Bangladesh 2-1, followed by a fighting show versus the Indians in the final one-dayer. Batting-wise, Sikandar Raza holds the impetus. Sean Williams and skipper Regis Chakabva are central figures too. The bouncy wickets on offer could benefit the pace trio of Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, and Luke Jongwe.
Warner has belted 5,610 runs across 133 ODIs. He is 148 short of surpassing Shane Watson's run count for Australia (5,757). He will become the 11th highest run-getter for the Aussies in 50-overs cricket. Hard-hitter Maxwell has hammered 3,390 runs while striking at 126.06. He can attain the 3,500-run mark. He can also surpass Mark Taylor's run-tally in the format (3,514).
Australia (probable XI): David Warner, Aaron Finch (captain), Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wicket-keeper), Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Sean Abbott, Josh Hazlewood. Zimbabwe (probable XI): Innocent Kaia, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Wesley Madhevere, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (captain & wicket-keeper), Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Brad Evans, Victor Nyauchi, Richard Ngarava.
Josh Hazlewood owns 97 scalps at 26.15. The right-armer can reach the 100-wicket mark. Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc has captured 195 wickets, averaging 22.45. He eyes the 200-wicket mark in the series. He will become only the sixth bowler for Australia to attain the feat after Glenn McGrath (381), Brett Lee (380), Shane Warne (293), Mitchell Johnson (239), and Craig McDermott (203).
Middle-order batter Sikandar Raza compiled 3,626 runs at 37.38. He can surpass the run counts of Nick Knight (3,637) and Kapil Dev (3,783). Sean Williams has hoarded 4,237 ODI runs at 35.01. The southpaw can better the tally of Elton Chigumbura (4,289) and become Zimbabwe's sixth-highest run-getter in ODIs. Meanwhile, all-rounder Ryan Burl (494) can race past 500 runs in 50-overs cricket.
Fantasy XI (option 1): Regis Chakabva, David Warner (c), Steven Smith, Aaron Finch, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Glenn Maxwell, Blessing Muzarabani, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa. Fantasy XI (option 2): Regis Chakabva, Ryan Burl, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza (vc), Glenn Maxwell, Luke Jongwe, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc (c), Adam Zampa.
Muzarabani was added to Zimbabwe's 15-man squad after missing out on the limited-overs series against Bangladesh and India due to a thigh muscle tear. He has claimed 46 ODI wickets at 29.91. He can reach the 50-wicket mark.