Townsville – Steve Smith pulled in a brilliant outfield catch as Cameron Green fired with the ball and David Warner with the bat to help Australia collect a five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Steve Smith turns back the clock
The former Australia captain may be getting on in years, but the evergreen 33-year-old showed he is still capable of the spectacular in the field with a superb catch in Townsville.
Smith showed great athleticism to run backwards from mid-off while sprinting against the flight of the ball to haul in a brilliant grab to help dismiss Zimbabwe batter Tony Munyonga off the bowling of Adam Zampa.
It was a vital breakthrough for the Aussies, with Zimbabwe cruising at the time at 104/2 in the 25th over and seemingly well placed to post a big score.
Cameron Green coming of age
While Smith set the tone with a brilliant piece of fielding, it was emerging all-rounder Cameron Green that finished the job for the hosts as he picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket.
Green’s extra pace troubled the Zimbabwe batters at times and the 23-year-old cashed in to collect excellent figures of 5/33 from nine overs.
Green’s first scalp was the crucial wicket of Sikandar Raza for five, with young gun Wesley Madhevere top-scoring for the visitors with a well-compiled 72.
It was the 21-year-old’s highest score of his 23 ODI matches thus far and shows that Zimbabwe have a talented batter to base their top-order around in the future.
Clinical run chase provides Australia with vital Super League points
The hosts were able to chase down the victory target within 33.3 overs, with experienced opener David Warner (57) leading the way and Smith (48*) and Glenn Maxwell (32*) completing the job.
It helped Australia pick up a valuable 10 points in the Super League standings as they improve their chances of directly qualifying for next year’s World Cup in India.
Australia currently sit in eighth place on the standings with 80 points from 13 matches played, while Zimbabwe languish in 12th with just 35 points from their 19 games.
The top eight teams will get a direct entry to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, while the remaining teams have to play in a qualifier along with five Associate teams to earn their way through to the tournament.