Australia and Zimbabwe continue their ODI series on Wednesday when the two nations meet for the second time in the scheduled three outings at Townsville just three days after Australia were fairly comfortable winners of the opening game.
Australia go into this second game of the three knowing that they can wrap up the series with a win here while Zimbabwe will be looking to win and force a decider while also claiming the World Cup qualifying points that are available.
I think it is fair to say that the opening ODI was a chance for the Australia players to blow away any cobwebs for those who had any and ease their way into what is a pretty big season of international cricket. They won’t have been delighted with all the facets of their performance but when you consider that there are bigger things to come later in the summer to get a win on the board for confidence without too many dramas will have been acceptable.
I think in the main Australia bowled fairly well. Sometimes you have to give credit to batters when they put on a partnership but one stand aside Australia didn’t let the batters get away from them. Where there is certainly room for improvement is with the bat. They weren’t really chasing much of a total but they made a little harder work of reaching it than I would imagine they would have wanted to do so there is work to come in that department.
I suspect when this series was confirmed as going ahead that there were a lot of people who feared that Zimbabwe would be humbled and humiliated both in conditions that were alien to them and against a side who were much better than the teams they are used to playing. That certainly wasn’t the case in that opening match of the series though and although the Africans went down, there were certainly positives to take from the performance.
One thing I guess a lot of people would have expected was for Zimbabwe to be blown away by the pace of the Australia attack up front but that certainly didn’t happen neither did the theory that their bowlers would be overwhelmed by the quality on display by the Australia batters. Zimbabwe can hold their heads high after that opening game and if they can show some natural improvement having tasted conditions for the first time then there is no reason why they can’t be competitive here at the very least.
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Australia might ask the same XI to go again in this match but given that they have an incredibly busy summer and another ODI series hot on the heels of this one it might be that the bowlers get rotated. Sean Abbott and Ashton Agar will be hoping to force their way in.
Sean Williams and Blessing Muzarabani both missed the opening match of the series for Zimbabwe for reasons that were not specified. The tourists will be hoping both are fit to come into the side for this second game.
One of the fears I had heading into this series was that we weren’t going to get many markets to do at during it and that fear has come to roost as there aren’t many performance lines or match lines that you would want to take without knowing the outcome of the toss. Of the five performance lines there are none of those jump out at us so instead I’ll go to one of the longer odds markets where the 7/2 on Adam Zampa to be the leading Australia bowler might just be a bit too big.
Zampa took three wickets in the opening match and was only beaten by Cameron Green but I don’t expect him to be taking five wickets in an innings very often. The positive for us backing Zampa here is that he was bowling beyond over 40 where the slog tends to come. Zimbabwe are a good batting side but they don’t face world class leg spin very often and that is what Zampa provides. Apart from when they were slogging at the end of the innings, Zimbabwe looked fine against the pace in the opening game which makes me think the 7/2 that Zampa takes the most wickets here is just too big.
Back A.Zampa Top Australia Bowler for a 2/10 stake at 4.50 with Bet365