Australia have already wrapped up the One Day International series against Zimbabwe as they lead 2-0 and will look to complete a whitewash when the two sides meet again on Saturday.
No disrespect to Zimbabwe but they will not be the toughest opposition the Australians face this year, but you can only beat what is put in front of you and Aaron Finch’s side blew them away in the second ODI.
Zimbabwe were bowled out for just 96 runs inside 28 overs at the Riverway Stadium in Townsville before Australia knocked the runs off in 14.4 overs to record an emphatic victory.
The bowling performance was outstanding but despite a dominant win, not everything about the result was perfect as Australia lost both David Warner and Finch early before Steve Smith and Alex Carey got the job done.
Finch faced just six deliveries and made one run before being dismissed and his form remains a concern, while Warner made 13 runs off nine deliveries.
Australia are set for a much harder test when they take on New Zealand over three One Day Internationals, starting next week. But first of all they have one more match to play against Zimbabwe and are targeting a series whitewash.
Let’s take a closer look at Saturday’s third and final ODI.
What: Australia v Zimbabwe
Where: Riverway Stadium, Townsville
When: 09:40 (AEST) Saturday 3rd September 2022
How to watch: Foxtel , Kayo
Australia put Zimbabwe into bat in the second ODI and look sure to do the same again if they win the toss on Saturday.
They wrapped up the win with an impressive bowling performance that saw Mitchell Starc rip through the top order. Starc finished with 3-24 off eight overs and his performance was a big improvement on the first ODI when he took just the one wicket.
Adam Zampa also impressed when taking 3-21, while Cameron Green backed up his performance in the first match by taking another two wickets.
In another big boost for the Aussies, Ashton Agar was back in the side two months after suffering a side strain, and he celebrated by taking a wicket.
The West Australian will get more game-time under his belt when he also lines up in the third ODI and he will be hoping to get a few more wickets as well.
Agar was also clear about the Aussie game-plan should they win the toss and Zimbabwe can expect to bat again if that is the case.
“It’s a no-brainer on this pitch to get out there bowl first and try and rock-and-roll a team as fast as you can and get the job done,” he said. “A lot of people want us to bat first, but I think we’ll try and be as ruthless as possible. It’s good preparation.”
One concern for the Aussies is the form of white-ball captain Finch who continues to struggle when opening the batting.
Finch has now played 10 ODI’s in 2022 and has managed just 159 runs, which is far from ideal. The fact that he has struggled against the Zimbabwe attack is even more worrying.
The skipper puts his poor form down to footwork patterns and he does have time to work on it before the defence of the T20 World Cup in Australia and the ODI World Cup in India in 2023.
And he also has the support of chairman of selectors George Bailey.
"Finchy's record over his entire career is a pretty incredible one," Bailey told reporters. "He's the leader of the team and I think you'd be a very brave person to write him off. Very excited for him to lead his team in a home World Cup which is pretty special."
Finch needs to get some runs on the board and will be out to get a confidence-boosting big score on Saturday.
It was not all bad news with the bat as Steve Smith notched another 47 runs to add to the 48 in the first match. He has yet to be dismissed in this series and is looking in good touch.
The series may be lost, but Zimbabwe have plenty to play for, including their pride and Australia cannot afford to be complacent.
Zimbabwe showed they could bat in the first ODI before collapsing late in the innings. If they can get enough runs on the board they do have the bowlers to trouble Australia.
Richard Ngarava again caught the eye when removing both Finch and Warner on Wednesday and is capable of doing more damage on Saturday.