Australia has secured a comprehensive five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first ODI at Riverway Stadium, with opener David Warner handed a reprieve following a “bizarre” sequence of events during the run chase.
Chasing a modest target of 201 for victory, Australia was 1/80 in the 17th over when Zimbabwe spinner Sikandar Raza got a delivery to bounce viciously off the deck, beating the outside edge of Warner’s bat.
Watch Australia v Zimbabwe. Every ODI Live & Exclusive to Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Zimbabwe captain Regis Chakabva appealed for caught behind, immediately calling for a review after umpire Rod Tucker shook his head.
Warner started trudging towards the sheds after the decision was sent upstairs, seemingly convinced he was out.
But to everyone’s surprise, nothing appeared on Hotspot and there was no spike on Snicko as the ball passed the outside edge.
Tucker confirmed the third umpire’s decision of not out, and Warner sheepishly waltzed back into the middle to resume his innings.
“I don’t know what to say, to be honest with you,” Australian teammate Nathan Lyon said on Fox Cricket commentary.
“I’ll be honest, sitting here watching that and hearing stump mic, I thought it was out … I believe he was out.”
To rub salt into the wounds, Warner slapped Raza’s next delivery over mid-wicket for the first six of the day.
The 35-year-old brought up his 25th ODI half-century a few minutes later, reaching the milestone in 57 deliveries.
Speaking to reporters after the win, Player of the Match Cameron Green confessed the incident was “very weird”.
“I don’t think too many people have seen that; a guy’s walked off thinking he’s out and then gets called back,” he said.
“We weren’t sure if David was just going to keep walking and accept it or go back. It was a really weird one, but yeah, we’ll take it.”
Raza finally got his man in the 23rd over, with Warner missing a full delivery that crashed into his middle stump.
The talented left-hander departed for 57, having combined with Steve Smith for a crucial 65-run partnership for the second wicket.
Smith finished unbeaten on 48 to help Australia chase the target with 99 balls to spare, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Australian captain Aaron Finch chopped on for 15 during the Powerplay while wicketkeeper Alex Carey was caught in the outfield for 10.
Zimbabwe leg-spinner Ryan Burl later sent a scare through the Australian camp by removing big-hitting all-rounders Marcus Stoinis (19 off 14 balls) and Mitchell Marsh (2 off 3 balls) in the same over.
But short-format powerhouse Glenn Maxwell guided the Aussies home with an explosive 32 not out off nine balls that featured five consecutive boundaries and three huge sixes.
Earlier, young prodigy Green claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket to help restrict Zimbabwe to 200 in the first innings.
Wessly Madhevere top-scored for Zimbabwe with 72 off 91 balls, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa claimed three wickets.
The second ODI between Australia and Zimbabwe gets underway at the same venue on Wednesday, with the first ball scheduled for 9.40am AEST.