Zimbabwe cricket coach Dave Houghton is hopeful his team’s first victory over Australia away from home will help provide more clashes with top-tier teams.
Houghton’s team lost the series 2-1 but earned a huge scalp with just their third Dettol ODI victory over Australia on Saturday.
Skipper Regis Chakabva guided the Chevrons to a three-wicket triumph in Townsville with an unbeaten 37 after leg-spinner Ryan Burl registered a career-best 5-10 as Australia were dismissed for just 141.
Houghton said the victory on a difficult and spicy Riverway Stadium wicket should help secure greater opportunities against cricketing powerhouses.
“I hope it goes a long way to providing that,” he told reporters after the historic win.
“The more wins we can get on in tours like this, the more that our chances are we might get some bigger opponents on a regular basis.”
Houghton said the gulf between his side and major cricketing nations was still wide but Saturday’s result would give belief to his players.
“If we’d lost the toss today we would have seen a game similar to the second game,” he said.
“The gulf is huge – make no error – we would struggle to beat your state sides on a good day.
“We are growing and hopefully we grow quite quickly and with the amount of cricket we’re starting to play and the fact that we are getting a few results like this…it’s nice to get these little reward top ups to show the guys what they’re doing is right.”
Josh Hazlewood was the pick of Australia’s bowlers with 3-30 and registered a milestone 100th ODI career wicket on Saturday.
Mitchell Starc was also a milestone man becoming the fastest player ever to 200 ODI scalps in 102 matches.
But, after scoring 94 of Australia’s 141 runs, opener David Warner said the Zimbabwean bowlers just put the ball in the right areas.
“You’ve got to respect that but you’ve also got to try and adapt and try and work out how you can score,” he said.
“We would’ve liked a lot more people hanging around and posted a better total.”
Warner came close to ending his century drought which now spans 54 innings across all three formats.
Only Warner and Glenn Maxwell reached double figures for the hosts.
Australia will now face New Zealand in three ODIs, beginning on Tuesday.
Men’s Dettol ODI Series v Zimbabwe
First ODI: Australia won by five wickets
Second ODI: Australia won by eight wickets
Saturday Sep 3: Zimbabwe won by three wickets
Australia squad: Aaron Finch, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Zimbabwe squad: Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva (c), Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Tony Munyonga, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams.