India 187-3 (Kohli 68no, Chatara 1-34) beat
Zimbabwe 183 (Mishra 4-47) by seven wickets
Third One-Day International, Harare
World champions India wrapped up the Celkon Mobiles One-Day International series with two games in hand after cruising to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in Harare.
India now lead the five-match series 3-0 as the tour heads to Bulawayo for the remainder of the games starting this Thursday.
Again Virat Kohli (68 not out) played a true captain’s role as he stirred India to 187 for three in 35.3 overs overs; easily surpassing Zimbabwe’s 183 squeezed from 46 overs.
Another toss win for India and bowling election, second in the series, was cancerous for Zimbabwean batsmen who failed to adapt to the severely swinging conditions in the morning.
As it may, it turned out to be a real test as India’s Vinay Kumar (1-32) got the breakthrough with the third ball of match when he had Vusi Sibanda, who looked to attack but miscued and skied his efforts to a running Shikhar Dhawan, out for a duck.
It even got better for the Men in Blue in the next over as Sikandar Raza Butt (1) edged Mohammed Shami (2-25) behind to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik to leave Zimbabwe reeling at two for two.
Hamilton Masakadza (38) and skipper Brendan Taylor (23) came to the middle probably earlier than they would have liked and re-commenced the innings with a 65-run stand for the third wicket.
The duo looked good to set the platform but Taylor was sharply caught by Shami off Jaydev Unadkat (1-24) in a dismissal that needed TV umpire Owen Chirombe to decide although most fans thought the ball had touched the ground.
It never rained but poured for the hosts and this time spinner Amit Mishra removed Masakadza and Malcolm Waller for a golden duck in successive deliveries; putting Zimbabwe in a spot of bother of 80 for five in 19.5 overs.
Zimbabwe never showed signs of recovery and they were further plunged into crisis as Elton Chigumbura (3) was trapped lbw by Ravindra Jadeja (1-39) while Prosper Utseya (10) was caught behind by Karthik off Shami.
A brief resistance by Sean Williams (45) gave Zimbabwe a bit of light in the dark tunnel but this wasn’t long before he was run out by a combination of Jadeja and Karthik with the scoreboard reading 133 for eight in 34.3 overs.
Tail-enders Tendai Chatara (23) and Brian Vitori (17) patiently took Zimbabwe past the 150-run mark and tried to resuscitate the innings with 34 runs for the ninth-wicket partnership in a case where both players notched up their career bests.
It took Chatara seven games to get his first international run.
Nevertheless, Vitori succumbed to Mishra as he edged him to provide Karthik his fourth catch of the match thus bringing in debutant Mike Chinouya (6 not out) to the crease.
However, both Chatara’s cameo and Zimbabwe’s innings finally came to a halt in the 46th over when man of the match Mishra (4-47), the pick of the Indian bowlers, knocked his off stump with a googly thus completing his four-wicket haul.
India were simply sensational in their run chase for a meager total. Even the aggression from the Zimbabwean bowlers in the power-play couldn’t do much to peg the World Champions.
Chinouya had his first international wicket when he forced Rohit Sharma (14) to edge to wicketkeeper Taylor in sixth over before Chatara had dangerman Dhawan (35) brilliantly caught by Sibanda.
From 67 for two, a 64-run third-wicket stand between Kohli and Ambati Rayudu ensued and brought India closer to reaching their destination.
India lost Rayudu (33), caught and bowled by Vitori, with 52 runs to win thus bringing in Suresh Raina (28 not out) who stood by his skipper until victory was attained with 87 more balls remaining.
© Cricket World 2013