Raina Half-Century Drives India To Twenty20 Series Win

Raina Half-Century Drives India To Twenty20 Series Win
Raina Half-Century Drives India To Twenty20 Series Win
©REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

India 144-3 (Raina 72no, Vijay 46) beat
Zimbabwe 140-5 (Taibu 45no, Dinda 2-15) by seven wickets
Second Twenty20 International, Harare

Indian captain Suresh Raina stroked a sublime unbeaten half-century to steer his side to a convincing seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the second Twenty20 International in Harare.

Having also won the opening match in comprehensive fashion, India claimed the series 2-0 having lost two One-Day Internationals against Zimbabwe earlier on in the tour.

Raina was unbeaten on 72 in 44 balls as India easily reached their victory target of 141 with two overs to spare, and the result ensured that in all nine games of the tour, which included an ODI tri-series with Sri Lanka, the team batting second had won the match.

In this game, that owed much to Zimbabwe's inability to score quickly early on and 140 never looked like enough runs. Excellent bowling early on from India, led by Ashok Dinda, who returned two for 15, restricted the home side to 21 for two after the six overs of fielding restrictions as Hamilton Masakadza (2) and Chamu Chibhaba (7) fell cheaply.

Brendan Taylor made 27 in 33 balls before Tatenda Taibu began to get the innings back on track with an unbeaten 45 in 40 balls.

Zimbabwe's hitters then delivered some much-needed boundaries, Charles Coventry thumping 28 in 13 balls and captain Elton Chigumbura making 18 in six deliveries as spinners Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha and Ravi Ashwin grabbed a wicket apiece.

In reply, India showed Zimbabwe how to attack from the front with Murali Vijay leading the way with an aggressive 46 in 39 balls with two fours and three sixes, most coming down the ground in an impressive display of straight, hard hitting.

Raina's runs came all around the wicket but he was typically strong through the covers and over midwicket as he helped himself to six fours and two sixes.

Naman Ojha (10) struggled to keep pace with Vijay at the top of the order before sweeping Ray Price into the hands of debutant Tendai Chatara in the deep and Chatara grabbed his maiden international wicket when Yusuf Pathan (4) attempted to win the match with a six but only succeeded in giving Masakadza an easy catch.

Raina then drove the ball sweetly down the ground for four to seal the match, and the series, in style and ensure India go into the Asia Cup, albeit with a significantly different and stronger squad, with a couple of wins under their belt.

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