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Having piled up an impressive 173-7 in their 20 overs, Zimbabwe were subjected to the whirlwind excellence of David Warner who almost matched Chigumbura's fireworks with 72 from 49 balls before hauling themselves backÂ into the match and clinching a famous win - the second time they have beaten Australia in a T20 match although this one does not count as 'official'.
Australia galloped to 95-1 in just 13 overs with Warner in his element and the game seemed theirs for the taking until senior spinners Ray Price and Prosper Utseya bowled superb back-to-back overs at a combined cost of justÂ 13 runs to push the required rate to 12 per over and heap the pressure back on Australia.
It was left to Chigumbura and Chris Mpofu to defend 33 from the final two overs and the chances of that happening diminished hugely when a chaotic 19th over, bowled by Chigumbura, produced two run outs - both off wides - atÂ a cost of 20 runs.
Mpofu's first delivery was then carved to the boundary by Brad Haddin leaving the lanky Tuskers seamer to defend just nine runs from the final five deliveries. Remarkably, however, it was the favourites rather than the underdogs who appeared shaky in the final moments and captainÂ Michael Clarke played a bizarre 'flick' at the fifth delivery when just four were required to win and was bowled. Mpofu's next delivery was harshly called wide outside the off stump but his next turn produced a perfect off stump yorker which Haddin could only squeeze to cover for a single leaving a jubilant, fist-pumping Mpofu to be mobbed by his team mates.
"It may not mean too much in the context of the tournament when it gets under way for real, but it means everything to us and to Zimbabwe cricket," said a delighted head coach, Alan Butcher. "Everyone played their part , andÂ I really mean that, although Elton played the biggest part and deserves all the headlines and praise that he gets."
The Mash Eagles skipper smashed five fours and six sixes in his remarkable innings which featured a stand of 114 with Craig Ervine immediately after the innings had slipped to 36-4. Australian all rounder Shane Watson boreÂ the brunt of Chigumbura's attack and was hammered for 20 in his second over after conceding 14 in his first. He didn't bowl again in the game.
"It means a lot us in terms of confidence," Chigumbura said. "Maybe it was only a practise match for Australia but we know they were trying their hardest and we could see that they did not enjoy losing. We need to believeÂ that we are good enough to beat any team and this was a good reminder because results haven't been too good on tour so far."
Ervine's 39 from 30 balls has almost certainly cemented his place in the starting XI for the group matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand on May 3rd and 4th while Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda needÂ to score significantly in the second warm-up match against Pakistan at the same ground on Thursday to secure their spots.
Zimbabwe 173/7 (20 overs, 8.65rpo)
Chigumbura 76 (35) Â Â Â Â Â Johnson 4-23
Ervine 39 (30) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lee 1-13
Australia 172/7 (20 overs, 8.6rpo)
Warner 72 (49) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Utseya 2-27
Clarke 49 (42) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Mpofu 1-13
File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20
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