HARARE: Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 3-25 as India cruised to an eight wicket win over Zimbabwe yesterday to clinch the three-match ODI series.
India claimed victory in the series opener on Saturday by nine wickets and in this second fixture restricted Zimbabwe to 126 all out after sending their hosts in to bat at the Harare Sports Club.
The tourists reached their modest victory target for the loss of openers Lokesh Rahul (33) and Karun Nair (39) as the latter put on 67 for the second wicket with Ambati Rayudu (41 not out).
India had 23.1 overs remaining in what was a one-sided contest between their inexperienced selection and a reeling Zimbabwe side whose coach Dav Whatmore was sacked on the eve of the series.
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Only Vusi Sibanda (53) offered any sort of resistance in the Zimbabwe batting innings, with just two other players reaching double-figures as they lost their last seven wickets for 20 runs.
The scalps were shared among the Indian bowlers, but man of the match Chahal was the pick with three for 25 in his six overs.
India skipper MS Dhoni praised his spinners. “It was a different performance from the first game. Our bowlers did a great job to restrict Zimbabwe,” said Dhoni. “I felt they would cross 200 and our spinners got us important breakthroughs. Most important thing is to win games and our batting when it comes to professionalism is right up there, even in the first game.”
Chahal's three restricts Zimbabwe to 126 in second ODI
The captain also revealed that one of the bowlers would be dropped for the T20I series. “We’ll sit and discuss changes for the next game with [interim coach] Sanjay Bangar. There’s only so much players can do in only one game. We’ll see who can fit in the T20 squad and maybe we’ll rest one of the bowlers,” he added.
The Zimbabwe innings was hampered by the loss of batsman Sean Williams, who injured his finger between the toss and the start of the match and did not bat but skipper Graeme Cremer refused to admit that the injury led to the team’s downfall. Instead he rued losing the toss.
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“Losing the toss again may have played a part but our batters didn’t look the part. The wicket was still doing a little bit and we were looking to get around 240 to get them under pressure. Injuries are always disappointing but I think we had enough batters to post a good score,” he said.
The final match of the ODI series will be staged tomorrow, after which the teams will play three T20Is starting on Saturday and Cremer is already looking forward to making amend in the remaining matches. “We know we have four games to go and hopefully come hard at them in the T20Is.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2016.
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