Australia have leap-frogged a rival on the path to automatic qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, with Mitchell Starc spearheading the team’s assault.
With three wickets in Australia’s win over Zimbabwe, Starc is one wicket away from becoming the sixth bowler to reach 200 men’s ODI wickets in green and gold.
Starc led the charge in Townsville, taking the wickets of Innocent Kaia, Wesley Madhevere and Tadiwanashe Marumani in his first four overs, consigning the tourists to 14/3. Regis Chakabva’s side were unable to recover, eventually bowled out for 96.
Australia lost David Warner and Aaron Finch early in the reply, with Zimbabwe’s left-arm quick Richard Ngarava (2/16) asking questions of his own. Ngarava also found the outside half of Steve Smith’s bat, only for the ball to squeeze past a waiting fielder at backward point.
Smith went on to make light work of the chase, finishing on 47* (41), and was joined by Alex Carey (26* off 33 balls) as the hosts cruised to the target in the 15th over.
Cricket World Cup Super League standings
The win takes the Aussies to 90 points on the Super League table, overtaking the West Indies (88 points) and moving to seventh place. The top eight teams at the end of the competition go straight to India for the 2023 World Cup, with the bottom five moving to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, held in Zimbabwe next year.
They have now taken a 2-0 unassailable lead in the three-match series.
A win over Zimbabwe in the third ODI would likely move the Australians into sixth, while Zimbabwe will feature in the Qualifier on home soil.