Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Starc grabbed three wickets as the hosts thrashed Zimbabwe by eight wickets in a low-scoring match to win the second One-day International here and take an unassailable lead in the three-match series on Wednesday.
Following figures 3/24, the 32-year-old Starc is just one wicket short of becoming the sixth Australian bowler to reach 200 men's ODI wickets even as the Kangaroos leap-frogged West Indies on the path to automatic qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India.
Starc led the charge here as Australia bundled out Zimbabwe for just 96 runs in 27.5 overs with the pacer accounting for Innocent Kaia, Wesley Madhevere and Tadiwanashe Marumani in his first four overs and consigning the tourists to 14/3.
Regis Chakabva's side were unable to recover, eventually bowled out for a sub-100 total.In reply, Australia lost David Warner and Aaron Finch early before they managed to overhaul the target in just 14.4 overs. Both the Australian wickets fell to left-arm quick Richard Ngarava (2/16).
Ngarava also found the outside edge of Steve Smith's bat, only for the ball to go past a waiting fielder at backward point. Smith went on to make light work of the chase, finishing on an unbeaten 47 (41 balls), and was joined by Alex Carey (26 not out off 33 balls) as the hosts cruised to the target with ease.
The win took the Aussies to 90 points on the Super League table, overtaking the West Indies (88 points) and moving to seventh place. The top eight teams at the end of the competition go straight to India for the 2023 World Cup, with the bottom five moving to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, to be held in Zimbabwe next year, according to ICC.
A win over Zimbabwe in the third ODI would likely move the Australians into sixth, while Zimbabwe will feature in the Qualifier on home soil.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 96 in 27.5 overs (Mitchell Starc 3/24, Adam Zampa 3/21, Cameron Green 2/7) lost to Australia 100/2 in 14.4 overs (Steven Smith 47 not out; Richard Ngarava 2/16) by eight wickets.
Most men's ODI wickets for Australia
Glenn McGrath - 380 wickets - 1993-2007
Brett Lee - 380 wickets - 2000-2012
Shane Warne - 291 wickets - 1993-2003
Mitchell Johnson - 239 wickets - 2005-2015
Craig McDermott - 203 wickets - 1985-1995
Mitchell Starc - 199 wickets (till date) - 2010-2022.