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Rahul slams maiden century as India overpower Zimbabwe

Lokesh Rahul was also awarded the man of the match for his unbeaten century.
Lokesh Rahul was also awarded the man of the match for his unbeaten century.
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 173-1 (Rahul 100no) beat
Zimbabwe 168 (Bumrah 4-28) by nine wickets
First One-Day International, Harare

Lokesh Rahul and Ambati Rayudu shared an unbeaten 162-run stand for the second wicket as India completed a convincing nine-wicket victory over Zimbabwe chasing down 169 in the first One-Day International in Harare.

Earlier, the Indian pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah’s four-wicket haul restricted Zimbabwe to 168 after MS Dhoni decided to bowl first on a track which aided early movement.

Chamu Chibhabha (3) survived a close lbw decision in the second over from Barinder Sran (2-42). The umpire deemed it not out even though replays suggested the ball was crashing the middle stump.

However, in the final delivery of the over, Sran trapped Peter Moor (3) lbw to give the initial breakthrough for India.

The new ball bowlers made life tough for the batsmen as the first boundary of the innings came in the eighth over from the blade of Hamilton Masakadza (14).

Dhawal Kulkarni (2-42) got his first wicket of the tour inducing an edge of Masakadza which was taken by Dhoni. At the end of 10 overs, Zimbabwe were positioned at 30 for two.

Bumrah (4-28) announced his arrival castling Chibhabha with an inswinging delivery in the 14th over following which Rahul dropped a simple catch in the slips off Craig Ervine (21).

Zimbabwe continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as Vusi Sibanda (5) and Ervine fell in quick succession to Bumrah and Sran respectively. Zimbabwe were reduced to 77 for five.

The 38-run stand between Elton Chigumbura (41) and Sikandar Raza (23) helped Zimbabwe cross the 100-run mark and they were eventually bowled out for 168 in 49.5 overs.

Bumrah, Sran and Kulkarni shared eight wickets between them while the spinners were tidy for India.

In the chase, India lost Karun Nair (7) early caught in the covers off Tendai Chatara (1-20). But that was the only success Zimbabwe managed as Rahul (100 not out) and Rayudu (62 not out) ensured India reached the target with a massive 162-run stand for the second wicket.

A cautious approach from the duo saw India score only 27 runs in the first 10 overs. Rahul reached his fifty off 57 deliveries while Rayudu brought up his in 93 deliveries. In the process Rahul also became the second Indian opener to score a ODI fifty on debut.

The acceleration began in the 23rd over with Rahul smashing Graeme Cremer (0-47) for back to back boundaries.

The pair's 100-run stand came in 144 deliveries and India crossed the 150-run mark in the 39th over.

After becoming the highest individual run-scorer for India on ODI debut, Rahul smashed a six when two runs were needed to complete a fine century and eventually taking India to a nine-wicket win which allowed them to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Rahul was awarded the man of the match for his unbeaten century. The second game of the series is scheduled to be played on Monday at the same venue.

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