The tri-series in Zimbabwe commences on Monday with the home side taking on Australia in Harare. The third side in this competition is South Africa
Australia will be seen in one-day mode for the first time since they beat England 4-1 earlier this year in a bilateral series following the Ashes. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, were whitewashed by South Africa in a recently contested three-match one day series that ended the week before.
This particular encounter is very clearly one between the big boys versus the minnows. Australia are ranked number one in the ICC ODI championship rankings while Zimbabwe are ranked 10. The Aussies, though, having not played any form of international cricket since their South Africa tour, have been in very good nick this year winning four out of their last five games.
Australia, however, have some bad news. Skipper skipper and key batsman Michael Clarke has been ruled out of the game due to a hamstring injury.
"Michael had a fitness test at training today and unfortunately hasn't come through that well enough to be available for selection in game one. He will continue intensive treatment on his hamstring and we'll monitor his progress ahead of game two on Wednesday," ESNCricinfo quoted coach Darren Lehmann as saying on Sunday.
T20 skipper George Bailey will be Australia's captain for this game, with Lehmann announcing the playing XI on the eve of the match. Kane Richardson, the bearded right-arm medium pacer, on a comeback trail, will add to his solitary one-day cap on Monday.
David Warner, the explosive left-hander, will not be seen in action in this tournament as he opted to be with his wife for the birth of their child. All-rounder Shane Watson too will not participate in this tournament due to injury.
For Zimbabwe, in all probability, Brendan Taylor, dropped in the last game against the Proteas, will come back into the side. If he does, Zimbabwe will hope he can produce a big score. Skipper Elton Chigumbura came good with 90 runs in their last game against the Proteas. Left-handed batsman Sean Williams too performed creditably in the series against South Africa.
At this stage, a win for Zimbabwe in this game would be nothing short of David defeating Goliath. Going by the form book, there's nothing to suggest that such an upset will take place as the home side have lost their last five encounters. Zimbabwe coach Stephen Mangongo appeared calm, though, as he was taking each game at a time.
"Records are meant to be broken. It's a new game, it's a new day, it's a new chapter. It's XI versus XI and you have to respect your opposition," he said.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (wk), George Bailey (capt), Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Kane Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.
Where to Watch Live--
Tha game will start at at 9:30 am local time (1 pm IST) with live coverage in India on Ten Cricket. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. In South Africa it will be shown on Supersport 2, the live streaming option is HERE. In Australia Fox Sports 2 will broadcast the match while viewers can also watch it live online HERE. Willow TV will air the game in the United States, with the option to live stream available HERE on Willow TV as well.