Glenn Maxwell ended a long wait for a half-century

Glenn Maxwell ended a long wait for a half-century © Getty Images

Call this a dead rubber all you want; this game had more life in it than perhaps all the others put together this tri-series. The hosts, backed vocally by the small crowd that turned up in freezing conditions in Harare, put up their best performance of the tournament, falling agonisingly short in the end. In a series desperately lacking close finishes, the last game before the tournament final provided a memorable finish to warm the hearts of those that sat shivering in the stands. They might not have got the result they came for, with Marcus Stoinis smashing Donald Tiripano over midwicket for four with one ball remaining and five wickets in hand, and ensuring Zimbabwe finished the series winless.

Cricket - even T20 cricket - isn"t nearly like football, where it can be quite impossible to miss when a game turned on its head. Not least because in football, those moments coincide with bulging nets and raucous celebrations. Without a shot played in anger today, slowly, almost imperceptibly, Australia turned around a game that, for a good half hour, looked like it was Zimbabwe"s to lose. If you hadn"t been paying much attention, there would have been a startling moment when you realised you weren"t going to get the upset you"d popped in front of the TV for, but what looked a routine Australian stroll to victory. It wasn"t quite as simple as that in the end, but the win did come thanks to a century partnership between Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell - the latter was at his explosive best - as Australia chased down the 152-run target.

Having set the visitors a somewhat below-par target, Zimbabwe began spectacularly with the ball, Wellington Masakadza and the precocious Blessing Muzarabani keeping Australia on a leash early on in the Powerplay. An ill-timed hoick by Aaron Finch to cow corner deprived the visitors of their skipper and trump card. A couple of overs later, Muzarabani drew an outside edge from the other opener Alex Carey for a simple catch behind the wicket. Australia"s middle order, which had looked so thoroughly second-string against Pakistan yesterday, looked like it might get another severe examination, with the asking rate climbing slowly and Zimbabwe looking a different side to the one Australia had steamrolled earlier in the week.

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Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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