Rayudu helps India to a wobbly win
India 255-6 (Rayudu 124) beat
Zimbabwe 251-7 (Chigumbura 104 no) by Four runs
First One-Day International, Harare
Ambati Rayudu scored an unbeaten ton to resurrect the innings after a top order collapse and post enough on the board to just stave off a spirited Zimbabwe chase as India won the first One-Day International in Harare by four runs.
Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to field first. They justified the decision by some high quality swing and seam bowling exploiting the conditions.
Brian Vitori (1-63) got Murali Vijay (1) in the fourth over as he edged one to second slip.
India had a really slow start, reaching just 32 for one after 10 overs. That got worse, when Ajinkya Rahane (34) was undone by the extra bounce and was caught at slip ending a 51-run partnership.
Rayudu (124 not out) started off really slowly but was at the other end when wickets started tumbling. Manoj Tiwary (2) didn’t have a happy comeback as he was trapped LBW early.
Robin Uthappa (0) ran himself out the next over attempting a risky single to mid-off and caught short by a direct hit. Chamu Chibhabha (2-25) struck again to get Kedhar Jadhav (5) as India were reduced to 87 for five in the 25th over.
However, Stuart Binny (77) played aggressively and with Rayudu resurrected the innings in a fluent fashion. The duo added 160 for the sixth wicket, the sixth highest sixth-wicket stand ever for India. Those runs, more importantly, came in just 147 balls.
Rayudu brought up his fifty in 72 balls in the 29th over, but switched gears from then on.
India reached 165 for five in 40 overs, but managed another 90 in the last 10 overs, thanks to Binny, who scored 32 off his first 45 and then 45 in the next 31 balls bringing up his own maiden fifty in 63 balls in the 45th over, which went for 15. That was courtesy of some powerful hitting by Rayudu who smacked a six and then a four to bring up his second century in 116 balls.
India finished on 255 for six in 50 overs, almost tripling their score in the second half. Donald Tiripano (2-48) was the other bowler to pick up a couple of wickets for Zimbabwe along with Chibhabha.
Zimbabwe didn’t have a great start either losing their opener Chibhabha (3) in the fifth over, trudging to 34 for one after the power-play. Binny (2-54) nicked out the second wicket, that of Vusi Sibanda (20) to complement some splendid bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-35).
Hamilton Masakadza (34) was dropped while batting on 27 by Uthappa but Akshar Patel (2-41) picked up his wicket anyway a couple of overs later.
Patel struck again in his next over getting Sean Williams (0) to push Zimbabwe to 94 for four after 25 overs.
Sikandar Raza (37) started off well with consecutive fours off Patel in the 27th over. But his brisk 33-ball knock was ended by Harbhajan Singh (1-46) closing out a dangerous 48 run partnership.
Binny picked up the wicket of Richmond Mutumbami (7) pretty quickly as Zimbabwe lost their way at 160 for six in the 38th over.
However, Graeme Cremer (27) helped the skipper Elton Chigumbura (104 not out) to salvage the chase. They added 86 for the seventh wicket and looked like taking the game away from India.
Zimbabwe were at one point on 173 for six after 40 overs and needed 83 off the last 60 balls to win.
Chigumbura scored his second successive century in 97 balls, but Dhawal Kulkarni (1-60) got Cremer off the last ball of the penultimate over.
Zimbabwe needed 10 off the last over with Chigumbura on strike but Kumar bowled a brilliant final over, giving away just five runs to take India to victory.
Rayudu was named as the man of the match as India now leads the three ODI series 1-0.
© Cricket World 2015