Report: Zimbabwe vs India, 4th ODI
India outplayed Zimbabwe to take a 4-0 lead in the ongoing five-match ODI series. After Zimbabwe succumbed to the Indian bowling attack for 144, the visitors attained the target in 30.5 overs to claim a thumping nine-wicket win at Bulawayo.
The Indian bowlers set up the game as debutant Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja claimed two scalps apiece. Meanwhile, Amit Mishra also helped skittle the opposition out. Rohit Sharma (64*) and Suresh Raina (65*) then took the team across the line with an unbroken partnership of 123 runs.
Earlier, with the series under their belt, India made two changes to their playing XI and handed Mohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara their maiden ODI caps. Coming into the side in place of Vinay Kumar, Mohit Sharma opened the bowling for India, after Virat Kohli elected to bowl at the Queens Sports Club. The debutant kept the hosts on their toes from the word go and gave his side their first breakthrough in the seventh over. The medium pacer calimed Sikandar Raza with just 16 on the board. And four overs later, a direct hit by Ravindra Jadeja found Hamilton Masakadza short of his crease; this triggered a mini-collapse.
Skipper Brendan Taylor was the next to be sent back, adjudged leg-before, while Jaydev Unadkat uprooted Sean Williams’ off-stump soon after. In the following over, Jadeja knocked back Vusi Sibanda’s off-stump to leave Zimbabwe on 47 for the loss of five wickets.
Although Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbara presented some resistance to arrest the fall of wickets, their efforts proved inadequate to set India a competitive target. The duo chipped away at the bowling to add 80 runs for the sixth wicket, until Mohit Sharma struck again to take the edge off Waller’s willow; Dinesh Karthik pouched the batter behind the stumps.
The rest of the line-up folded for 17 runs. Chigumbara, who remained unbeaten on 50, was unable to find support from the other end as he fought to keep his team afloat. Prosper Utseya hit Mohammed Shami straight to Rohit Sharma at point, while Tendai Chatara, Brian Vitori and Michael Chinouya were unable to negotiate Amit Mishra’s spin. The leg-spinner finished with figures of three for 25.
Chasing 145, the Indians sent Pujara to open with Rohit Sharma. However, the debutant’s leg stump was sent cartwheeling by Chatara early in the innings. With India on 23 for one, Raina, promoted up the order, joined Rohit Sharma to carry the innings forward.
The duo milked the Zimbabwe bowlers at a steady pace as they coasted towards the target. The left-hand bat was in fine form and was the dominant partner for most part. The pair ran singles and twos while hitting the odd boundary as they inched towards the target.
Rohit Sharma, who had bided his time at the crease, too began to gather runs with ease. Raina was on 42 when Rohit Sharma’s strike off Utseya straight down for a single hit his partner on the left wrist. But the southpaw continued to bat after receiving medical attention. A bit later, Rohit Sharma was the first to reach his fifty, while Raina steered Williams to mid-wicket to reach his half-century a ball later.
The duo took India across the line in the 31st over, thereby handing the visitors another convincing win this series.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 144 all-out in 42.4 overs (E Chigumbara 50*, A Mishra 3/25, M Sharma 2/26, R Jadeja 2/28) lost to India 145/1 in 30.5 overs (S Raina 65*, R Sharma 64*) by 9 wickets
Man of the Match: Mohit Sharma for claiming two key Zimbabwe wickets on debut