Starc and Warner chasing landmarks as Australia tackle Zimbabwe

By Sports Desk August 26, 2022

Mitchell Starc has ODI milestones and a slice of cricket history in his sights as Australia prepare to tackle Zimbabwe.

Left-arm paceman Starc is five victims away from becoming the sixth player to take 200 wickets for Australia in men's ODIs.

It might be asking too much of 32-year-old Starc to expect him to take all five on what will be, should he play, his 100th ODI appearance.

Indeed, team-mate Marnus Labuschagne has already voiced his view that spin could be the chief wicket-taking threat.

However, as long as Starc takes five at some point over his next four appearances, he will be the fastest player in the history of ODIs to reach 200, surpassing Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq, who got to the mark in 104 matches.

Australia and Zimbabwe will clash in three ODIs at the Riverway Stadium in Townsville, Queensland, over the coming days, with the venue staging its first such matches featuring ICC full-member nations.

These will be first ODI encounters between the teams since August 31, 2014, when Zimbabwe beat Australia by three wickets in Harare.

That result ended the hosts' 31-year wait for a second ODI victory in the rivalry between the teams, after Zimbabwe won at Trent Bridge in the 1983 World Cup but then lost their next 27 completed matches against Australia in the format.


Tasty appetiser for Black Caps series

Tussles with Zimbabwe on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday come ahead of Australia's three-game series against New Zealand in Cairns, which starts on September 6.

Australia have a 93 per cent win rate against Zimbabwe in men's ODIs, and only against Bangladesh (95 per cent) do they have a higher such success rate in the format (minimum 10 games).


Warner bids to go past Waugh, Raza sharp for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, coached by Dave Houghton and captained by Regis Chakabva, will be out to cause an upset and must aim to nullify David Warner's threat.

Warner has 18 ODI centuries in 133 matches, putting him one away from recording the outright second most tons for Australia in the short format. He is currently level with Mark Waugh, with Ricky Ponting's 29 hundreds leading the way.

It will be Warner's first ODI against Zimbabwe, and the visitors have their own batting threat in the shape of Sikandar Raza, who has hit three centuries in his past six innings in the 50-over international game, including a ton last time out against India.

Raza averages 62 with the bat since the beginning of 2022, the highest for any Zimbabwe batter in ODIs in a single calendar year (minimum 10 games).

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