Australia vs Zimbabwe (AUS vs. ZIM) ICC World Cup Live Cricket Score.
The ICC World Cup 2011 match for today, the fourth one, featuring Australia vs Zimbabwe (Aus vs Zim), is happening at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad.
Australia won the toss against Zimbabwe and chose to bat. Australia made a surprisingly slow start, with Haddin at one stage making just 16 runs off 41 balls.
Australia start their campaign for a fifth ICC Cricket World Cup trophy with a tricky opener against Zimbabwe on Monday.
Australia have been unbeaten in 22 matches in the last two tournaments played in South Africa (2003) and West Indies (2007), under Ricky Ponting.
They have won 23 back to back matches stretching to 1999 and have been unconquered in 29 ties, which includes the unforgettable tied match against South Africa in the semifinal 12 years ago.
On paper, Ponting's men hold a clear edge over the African nation led by Elton Chigumbara, but would be eager not to be tripped by the one-time minnows of the 50-over game as was the case 28 years ago in England.
The Aussies, fresh from a 6-1 rout of their Ashes nemesis England in the following ODI series at home, landed in India only to be rudely awakened by successive defeats in their two practice games against India and South Africa at Bangalore.
But they are sure to hit the strap on the run when their bid to clinch their fifth World Cup crown starts.
The Aussies have a fine batting line-up in which Shane Watson, who opens the batting, and Ponting are crucial in the top order to lay the platform for others to build upon.
But a question mark remains over the ability of the middle order batsmen in playing spin bowling on Indian pitches.
Watson has performed brilliantly with the bat in ODIs in the last year, having scored 832 runs and Zimbabwe's think tank would have talked about ways of stopping the Queenslander from taking the game away.
"It's much different and bigger responsibility in opening the innings than batting at number seven in the last World Cup, a role Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden did so beautifully throughout their career. It's a great responsibility and I'm looking forward to that challenge," said Watson.
Ponting, whose fabulous innings of 140 not out in 121 balls in the 2003 World Cup final buried Indian hopes, has come back into action after a long injury lay-off following a broken little finger sustained during the Ashes series against England. But he has quickly got into his stride with good half-century knocks in two practice games.
It's the form of the others which is a big worry for Australia. Without the presence of the injured Michael Hussey, who was adept in playing the slow bowlers on previous visits to the sub-continent, they lack a batsman around whom the other quick run-getters like Cameron White can play around.
The Indian spinners exposed the chink in the Aussie batting armoury in the practice game when they triggered a collapse and helped the hosts defend a meagre total with aplomb.
Though not too much needs to be read into the practice ties, as Watson insisted earlier, Zimbabwe's think tank would surely have noted this stuttering performance with some glee as their own attack revolves around spin rather than pace as was the case in the past.
In bowling, Australia have a pace attack that can be handy for opposing batsmen even on the slow and low sub-continental wickets.
The biggest plus for them has been the return to what looks like the form of his old by spearhead Brett Lee who is expected to open the bowling with sling-arm action and speedy Shaun Tait with left-arm Mitchell Johnson coming in as first change.
Australia have an excess of riches in pace and medium pace with Watson and John Hastings, who is expected to play, coming in behind the top three. But they lack a top class front-line spin bowler barring Jason Krejza, who has been recalled after several months, to bowl the middle overs when the field is spread out.
Ricky Ponting will create the Australian record of making most appearances in ICC CWC matches when he will take field against Zimbabwe and will overtake former teammate Glenn McGrath in the process.
Ponting, who is also eying rare feat of winning three World Cup trophies as skipper, is tied with McGrath on 39 appearances till date.
Zimbabwe have not been hot property in ODIs over the last few months and barring a few victories over a less than full-strength India at home, have not really been up to the mark.
They have a reasonably sufficient batting line-up in which Brendon Taylor stands out with his ability and experience, but can find the going tough against the Aussie pace attack.
Zimbabwe are hoping that a spin-oriented attack, consisting of former skipper Prosper Utseya, left-armer Ray Price and Graeme Cremer would do the magic against the middle order of Australia.
"It is going to be tough to play the first match of the World Cup before the defending champions Australia. But I think the guys are prepared," leg spinner Cremer said.
Cremer also said the bowlers were learning the tricks of bowling on sub-continental tracks by watching seasoned bowlers like India's main trump card Harbhajan Singh.
"We have watched Harbhajan (Singh) bowl. At what speed he bowls and what length he bowls. It is good for us. And on the last tour to Bangladesh (in December 2010), we saw how our spinners bowled and their spinners, and there tracks are pretty similar to here," said the 24-year-old with 47 one-day wickets to his credit.
"Spin is one of our strengths with which we could take on the Australians, which is a tough team. We ought to restrict them to a low score," said Utseya.
Even with these factors which are likely to help them, the Zimbabweans have a huge task on hand in taming the three-time defending champions and cause the first big upset of the tournament as was the case in 1983 in England.
Australia: Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson, David Hussey, Cameron White, Tim Paine (wk), Steven Smith, John Hastings, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Doug Bollinger.
Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Regis Chakabva, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Terry Duffin, Gregory Lamb, Shingirai Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Ray Price, Tatenda Taibu, Tinashe Panyangara, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya and Sean Williams.
Umpires: Asoka de Silva and Richard Kettleborough, Third umpire: Amish Saheba, Match Referee: Jeff Crowe
- Ricky Ponting would be setting a record for most appearances in the World Cup. At present, he shares the record with Glenn McGrath. Both have appeared in 39 games between 1996 and 2007.
- Australia have played 29 games in succession between May 27, 1999 and April 28, 2007 without losing - a record at the World Cup. With just one victory in the 2011 edition, Australia would be the first nation to play 30 consecutive games without losing. Apart from Australia, not even a single team has played ten consecutive games without losing. Australia's tally includes 22 consecutive games won by them between June 20, 1999 and April 28, 2007.
- Ponting is the only skipper to enjoy a cent per cent record, having won all the 22 world cup matches. He is all set to overtake Stephen Fleming's tally of 27 matches as captain.
- Ponting (954 at 59.62 in 22 games) needs 46 runs to become the first captain to aggregate 1,000 runs in the World Cup. In case of a hundred in any of the games during the present competition, he would be eclipsing Sourav Ganguly's record of three hundreds as captain.
Australia vs Zimbabwe in ODIs
The two countries have played 27 games against each other in ODIs. Australia have won 25, Zimbabwe 1 while the remaining game could not produce a result. The winning % for Australia is 96.15 and 3.84 for Zimbabwe.
Australia vs Zimbabwe in World Cup
Having won their first game against Australia in the 1983 World Cup by 13 runs, Zimbabwe have lost the next seven games - their winning % being 12.50 as against Australia's 87.50. Australia, except for the defeat in their first encounter against Zimbabwe, have won all their result-oriented games.
Overall World Cup Record
Australia have won 51 out of 69 contested (Lost 17 & NR 1) - winning % 74.63.
Zimbabwe have won 8 out of 45 played (Lost 33, NR 3 & Tied 1) - winning % 20.23.
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