Australia lose to Zimbabwe in Twenty20 opener

Australians love muttering Twenty20 doesn't matter - it's all just a bit of hit and giggle. Those mutterings are now loud protests as Zimbabwe defeated Australia by 5 wickets in their first match at the Twenty20 World Cup.

Forget that Twenty20 is fluff cricket. Put aside the fact that Australia hadn't played since April (and were probably still suffering hangover effects from World Cup celebrations). Ignore that the match was rain disrupted (nearly saving Australia which would've been a tragedy for Zimbabwean cricket). Never mind that our bristling bowling attack were outperformed by Zimbabwe's dibbly dobblers. This is a big embarrassment for Australia - rivalling our loss to Bangladesh in 2005.

Ricky Ponting's lame comments after the match say it all. "We've got to start respecting the game a bit more" is one of those forehead slappers ("ya think, Ricky?!"). More troubling was his "The top order was diabolical during the warm-ups too. And I guess that's where we lost it." No, Ricky, you lost it on the field with inferior batting and bowling.

It wasn't just a case of Australia playing badly. Zimbabwe played out of their skins. Their bowlers exploited the conditions, extracting movement off the pitch that troubled the Aussie batsmen. With the bat, Brendan Taylor held the innings together then got them over the line when 12 runs were needed in the last over.

Significantly, it's the 2 year anniversary since Australia lost the Ashes (well, we got 'em back but the pain still lingers). I can just imagine Robert Mugabe putting a hip out with all the air punching.

Although it's dreadfully unpatriotic, part of me wishes I'd put a few dollars on Zimbabwe. The bookies were paying 50-1 odds.
Posted by JC on Thu 13 Sep 57 comments
We got owned. Embarrasing. :(

Now we need to beat England (who play a lot more fluff than we do) and even then its not guaranteed we'll make the top 8. Bugger.
Posted by Timbo on 2007-09-13 11:38:41
Hopefully this is the "game we had to lose" for us to win the cup. (I sound like Keating there).

It could be tough coming against England as they have just come off a ODI series, so they are probably in a better frame of mind than us.
Posted by Andrew on 2007-09-13 11:45:45
Nice eye opener. Specially for Ricky, who has not been very friendly towards Zimbabwe and they playing competitive cricket. While Australia is still a great side and will be for some more time, nothing can take away an effort like this from zimbabwe. Other teams - Please learn..!
Posted by techmine on 2007-09-13 12:44:32
I remember before Australia got beat by Bangladesh, Ricky Ponting said some stuff about how they didn't deserve Test status. I don't recall but it wouldn't surprise me if he's said similar stuff about Zimbabwe.

On the bright side, cricket never is more interesting (for me anyway) than after Australia loses. I'll be staying up for the England game!
Posted by JC on 2007-09-13 16:00:14
Mastercard on the prowl for Cricket Australia sponsorship contract!!!

The new 20-20 cricket wardrobe of Aussies!!!

Cricket Australia's yellow-grey Cap: $ 25
Grey inner vest by Adidas: $ 75
Cricket Australia's all new sleeveless yellow-grey shirt: $ 69
New yellow-grey trousers: $ 80
Adidas Cricket shoes: $ 195
The look on Australian Captain's face after losing to Zimbabwe: PRICELESS

Posted by Mahesh on 2007-09-13 16:14:24
JC: More troubling was his "The top order was diabolical during the warm-ups too. And I guess that's where we lost it." No, Ricky, you lost it on the field with inferior batting and bowling.

I don't think the bowling was too poor actually. 139 was never going to be enough - and that was due to the "diabolical" start. Ricky is right. The top order Australians completely misread the wicket and were too adventurous with their shots before they got the pace and movement of the pitch. There is nothing wrong with what RP said. In fact, it was refreshingly honest.

Kudos to Zimbabwe for their victory, especially Brendan Taylor!
Posted by stumps on 2007-09-13 17:06:21
More from RP's post match presser:
Asked if he felt embarrassed, Ponting conceded: "Of course, and every one of us should be and there will be a lot of Australians back home who feel the same way as well.
It's not very often I've walked off a cricket field feeling that way but if you asked each and every one of us, they would all say the same thing.
We have no excuses at all. We were outplayed today and they did most things better than we did.
There's been a lot of stuff going around about how rusty we are and things like that but that doesn't matter.
The game is on and you have to go out there and play and today we didn't play."

JC, is that satisfactory?? =P
Posted by stumps on 2007-09-13 17:39:13
Aaaargh, rain affected 20-20 with D/L - the most bastardised form of our beloved game!!!!!!!! Beam me up Scotty, I want out, NOW!

Well JC, I don't want to start the new season off whinging about how cricket's LITE version is surely intended for short attention-span footy or soccer fans who like to make out they're 'into' cricket but don't understand the 5-day game, or the way 20-20 may end up ruining batting and bowling techniques, or the way it makes the fielders basically ornamental as the slogging and across-the-line heaves proliferate, or, indeed the way that the 'fun' element has suddenly evaporated from 20-20.

By the same token, I'm also not about to start carrying on about how this format bears no significance in the real world of cricket and stats, is in no way a barometer (by any stretch of the imagination) for form or ability and the way this type of game depends solely on how many times a team get away with the old heave-ho after the lottery of the toss.

And another thing, the uniforms are as sick as the format (where's me green and gold gone?), while the breaks between overs are now TOO short to fit a full ad in - so we invariably miss the first ball of the next over! I don't want to talk about it anyway.

"1985 all over again" say the pundits - what? That was a One-dayer I believe. These 20-20 games now only outrank beach cricket as they wallow in the depths well below testimonials and televised celebrity games.

No wonder they're on in the middle of the night!
Posted by virtualgaz on 2007-09-13 19:43:28
It's ironic, considering it was the Zimbabwe tour that we pulled out of that would have given us match practice.
Posted by MT on 2007-09-13 19:44:15
I stayed up the whole night to watch this game (I'm still kinda tired, you know!) and hoping that the Aussies would win but guess what? It was just a waste of time! Arrgghhh!! But let's look on the bright side, this victory was probably good for Zimbabwe. It has been a long time since I've seen smiles on their faces. Good for them! Oh, and great act of sportsmanship from the Aussie team but the look on Ponting's face after the loss, as Mahesh said "PRICELESS". I'll be watching again on Friday for the game between Australia and England. Even though I'm an Aussie fan, I'll have to say fifty-fifty on this one. And also, I've noticed that the players don't have those ear pieces anymore. What's up with that?

Anyway, one more thing - to the Australian Cricket Team: THRASH THE POMMIES FOR US!!! WHOO!!! DO IT FOR YOU'RE COUNTRY, MATES!!! C'MON!!! :)
Posted by Aussie on 2007-09-13 20:19:47
lets not get too crazy here people, in 2003 at the world cup in south africa, we all but lost 3 games on identical pitches. New Zealand, England and the semi against Sri Lanka. The difference, is then the game was longer and therefore easier to save.

and anyway it makes it more interesting when we lose early on in a world cup. the 99 cup was by far the most exciting of the recent cups.
Posted by Uncle J rod on 2007-09-13 23:00:33
Greetings all.

Well done to Zimbabwe. I think that, if this format is to stay, countries will need to introduce 20/20 specialists. Guys who don't need any time at all to get their eye in, can blast away from ball one. I mean, even in 50/50 games, players have an opportunity for some sighters (unless you come in at the death).
This could mean an entirely different squad and, as referred to by Gaz, prevent true cricketers from form and technique destruction.
Personally, not a fan. But then I'm not even that keen on the 50/50 stuff. Stick with Test Matches.
Posted by Dan Tas on 2007-09-14 08:10:03
Touche Mr. Tas, I'm flat out finding a single thing of a positive nature to say about 20-20.
Posted by virtualgaz on 2007-09-14 19:31:10
Haven't been this happy in a long time. Seeing Australia with their Netball kit get whipped by Mugabe was thrilling. Proteas rule.
Posted by Les on 2007-09-14 19:55:00
stumps, maybe I was a bit hard on Punter - that quote is spot on.
Posted by JC on 2007-09-15 11:38:11
virtual gaz,
Are you poo poo on 20/20 because it allowed the Poms to again make a mockery of their performance in the home ashes series in 2005?
Posted by T11 on 2007-09-15 20:28:07
T11, kinda - I'm pooey about 20-20 because of it's no-brain heritage, that is to say, aimed at taking revenue from otherwise non-cricket fans i.e. Pommie soccer hooligan types who aspire to being 'into' following English cricket but have to be served it in their 90-minute format so there's plenty of time to fight and riot afterwards. This format is going nowhere fast with cricket followers. I know they said this about the ODis but that format wasn't flawed (until the D/L was introduced).
Posted by virtualgaz on 2007-09-16 11:17:19
VG. So are you saying the English are brain dead, and will only appreciate something if it only takes as long as it takes to eat their fish and chips, or their curry?
Posted by T11 on 2007-09-16 22:21:00
VG, can we asume that in the quickened format of 20/20, the poms still have time for a bit of foreplay, and then a How's ya father, between overs? They certainly seem to know how to find time to work out a losing strategy.
Posted by T11 on 2007-09-16 22:26:06
T11, for the record, virtualgaz is an ex-pat Pommie living in Australia. His comment was directed more towards soccer hooligans than the English in general.
Posted by JC on 2007-09-17 00:59:30
India whooped australia's a**.... sorry mates but india is better than australia... whoooooo!!!!
Posted by kush on 2008-03-07 03:38:43

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