Exactly 16 years after beating the Australians in their very first
official one-day international on the opening day of the 1983 World Cup, the Zimbabweans
met the same team in the second Super Six clash for both sides. The
venue was the Mecca of Cricket, where the Zimbabweans had never played
an official international match before.
A lot had changed since that 1983 win. Zimbabwe had acquired Test status
in 1992, and while they were still struggling in the traditional format, they
had established a decent enough reputation in the shorter variety, with the
cricketing world aware of their capability to surprise any fancied team on a
Australia were expected to win the second Super Six game as well, but no
one who had seen the Zimbabweans in action was keen on entirely dismissing the
chances of Alistair Campbell's team. In that sense, the teams playing the game
were in the same boat as their 1983 predecessors.
Neil Johnson, hero of Zimbabwe's sensational win over South Africa, gave
his team a flying start by getting Gilchrist out for ten after Campbell won the
toss and elected to field. What followed was a brilliant partnership between
two men who knew all about batting with each other.The Zimbabwean bowlers could
make no impact on them as the runs kept coming.
Neil Johnson returned to a rousing reception, undefeated on 132 to follow up on
his spell of 2-43 in the Australia's innings. He received the Man of the Match
award for his magnificent all-round display despite being on the losing side.
The Zimbabweans ultimately fell short of the semi-final stage. Pakistan
annihilated them by 148 runs in their third and final Super Six game. But Neil
Johnson once again distinguished himself. He could not bowl due to an injury,
but he compensated by scoring 54 as his team was bowled out for a paltry 123 in
response to Pakistan's imposing 271-9.