The current number one-ranked team in the world picked up from where they left off against Northern Ireland yesterday, as they took the lead early in the contest and never relinquished their advantage.
Buoyed by their fantastic support once again, Zimbabwe impressed in the first ever Netball World Cup meeting between the sides, but ultimately fell short of victory.
The Diamonds entered the tournament as the joint tallest team on average, and they made that advantage – as well as their greater experience – count against Zimbabwe, who are the smallest team at the World Cup, as they raced into an 8-2 lead after five minutes.
Zimbabwe recovered from their slow start and began to grow into the contest, creating more scoring opportunities that Joice Takaidza converted, finising the quarter with eight goals.
Australia continued to show their own attacking quality though and they led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter as Caitlin Bassett and Gretel Tippett combined to score all 18 of Australia’s goal attempts.
The Zim Gems raced out of the blocks in the second quarter and reduced the deficit to six goals, but Australia responded and increased their lead to 14 midway through the quarter.
As the second quarter wore on, the Diamonds’ experience began to show and at half-time they had extended their advantage to 21 goals as they led 39-18, limiting Zimbabwe to nine goals in the quarter again.
Zimbabwe replaced Takaidza and Ursula Ndlovu with Pauline Jani and Sharon Bwanali at half-time and it had a positive impact on the Zim Gems as the pair combined to score eight times in the opening period of the third quarter.
The back-and-forth action continued for the rest of the quarter as the Zim Gems recorded 13 goals in total, four more than in either of the first two quarters, but Australia remained on top as they extended their lead to 23.
It was a much improved start to the final quarter for Australia, as they built their lead. Their dominance continued and they outscored a tiring Zimbabwe team 19-6 to complete an impressive victory.
Australia will be hoping to secure their place at the top of Group A when they face Sri Lanka on Sunday afternoon, while Zimbabwe will be confident they can bounce back in their final group game against Northern Ireland tomorrow.
Australia’s Caitlin Bassett said:
“It was a physical match. The players that were out there felt it and it’s a good practice for us for later rounds.
“I think they took advantage of their smaller stature. They use a lot of bounce passes and got around the body really well which is something we had a talk about at half time, but it was hard to put the high ball in because they had really long reach.”
Zimbabwe’s Ndaizivei Madzikangava said:
“As a team we played very well. This is our first time at a World Cup. It was difficult for us, but we did very well. We can learn a lot of things. They are very fast and that made it difficult for us, but I think tomorrow we can do very well.”
— nwc2019.co.uk Report