India eased to victory in their ODI series with Zimbabwe on Sunday, as they put the hosts to the sword with a routine 62-run victory to make it 2-0, per ICC:
Zimbabwe came just four runs away from catching India’s haul of 255 in the first ODI, so when they won the toss and elected to field, the plan was to get off to a fast start.
However, Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay had other ideas.
Despite a somewhat cautious start, the duo were chalking up runs with ease and firmly establishing themselves at the crease.
It didn’t take long for them to creep past the half-century mark, with Vijay even dropping his wary approach and hunting for the boundaries.
Skipper Rahane’s wicket then fell, though, as Chamu Chibhabha made the breakthrough with an excellent delivery that the Indian could only play into the grateful hands of Sikandar Raza for 63.
Still, the damage was done, as the openers made an impressive 112-run stand, per Cricmates:
Vijay was dismissed soon after on 72 at the hands of Neville Madziva, but with India sitting on 159-2, they were firmly in command.
Ambati Rayudu put together a strong knock of 42 before Raza sent him packing, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.
The middle order couldn’t replicate the brilliance of Rahane and Vijay, with 25 the best score from third man downward. Madziva enjoyed the best of the action with the ball, taking four wickets for 49 runs.
India eventually posted 271-8 from their 50 overs, as we see below:
|India Innings: 271-8 (50.0 overs)|
|Rahane||c Raza b Chibhabha||63||83||7||0|
|Vijay||c Sub b Madziva||72||95||1||2|
|Rayudu||c Sub b Raza||41||50||3||0|
|Tiwary||c Vitori b Tiripano||22||26||0||1|
|Binny||c Raza b Vitori||25||16||3||0|
|Jadhav||c Mutumbami b Madziva||16||13||1||0|
|Harbhajan Singh||not out||5||4||0||0|
|A Patel||c Raza b Madziva||1||2||0||0|
|B Kumar||not out||0||0||0||0|
Zimbabwe’s failure to chase 251 in the opening ODI will have been in the back of the players’ minds as they came in to bat, and it wasn’t long before those nerves started to show.
Vusimuzi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura all failed to get into double figures, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar taking the latter pair’s wickets.
Kumar’s brilliance left the hosts on 43-3 and in danger of suffering a batting collapse, but opener Chibhabha just about managed to steady the ship.
He was finding boundaries with ease and quickly moved over the 50 mark—his 12th ODI half-century, according to Cricbuzz:
Sitting on 72 and looking dangerous, though, Chibhabha was clumsily run out by the man he dismissed earlier in the day, Rahane.
From then on, it was just a case of when India would claim the victory, rather than if.
Batsmen came and went, with Kumar tearing through the Zimbabwe order with ease.
And when he sent Donald Tiripano packing with just an over remaining and the hosts on 209, the match, and the series, was over:
|Zimbabwe Innings: 209 all out (49.0 overs)|
|Sibanda||c Vijay b Kulkarni||2||13||0||0|
|Chibhabha||run out (Rahane)||72||100||9||0|
|H Masakadza||c Uthappa b B Kumar||5||11||1||0|
|Chigumbura||c Rahane b B Kumar||9||6||2||0|
|Williams||b A Patel||20||37||1||0|
|Raza||c Uthappa b Harbhajan Singh||18||22||0||1|
|Mutumbami||c A Patel b Binny||32||41||3||0|
|Cremer||c Rahane b B Kumar||27||42||2||0|
|Madziva||run out (Rahane)||0||0||0||0|
|Tiripano||c A Patel b B Kumar||6||13||1||0|
Despite the fact that India have breezed to the ODI series victory, they’re still not quite on top of their game and were certainly there for the taking at times on Sunday.
The middle of the Indian order has to improve if they’re to mix it with the best in the business, as that sloppiness could be punished against better sides.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, need a big step-up if they’re to do any damage to the Indians in the upcoming T20 series, but based on this evidence, the visitors will be reaping more glory.