After asking Zimbabwe to bat first yet again, perhaps surprisingly, India put in another solid bowling display to restrict the hosts to 161 in the second One Day International at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday. The run-chase provided a few more stumbling blocks than in the first match, but India scored 167/5 in just 25.4 overs to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Sanju Samson was the top-scorer for India, finishing unbeaten on 43 off 39 balls.
Shardul Thakur, bowing first-change after a tidy opening spell by Mohammed Siraj and Prasidh Krishna, picked up 3/38. Rest of the five bowlers picked up a wicket each while the last two Zimbabwe batters to fall were run out.
Batting at number six, Samson faced 39 deliveries over 51 minutes and smashed four sixes and three fours.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan and fellow top-order batsman Shubman Gill contributed 33 runs each as India recovered from 5-1 to eventually finish comfortable winners.
Vice-captain Dhawan struck four fours in a brisk innings while the more cautious Gill notched six fours.
Luke Jongwe was the most successful Zimbabwe bowler, taking the wickets of Gill and Ishan Kishan for the loss of 33 runs in four overs.
The unbeaten 43 and three catches earned Samson the player of the match award and the wicketkeeper said he enjoyed his time in front of the stumps.
“I took three catches but I missed a stumping – as wicketkeepers we are used to being told about things we did not do well,” he said.
“I really enjoy wicketkeeping and contributing to this win. In this match the fast bowlers picked the length much quicker and I really enjoyed that.
Zimbabwe got off to a slow start but once again lost the top order cheaply. The notable contributions came lower down from Sean Williams and Ryan Burl.
India won the toss and chose to bowl in Harare on Saturday as they sought a series-clinching second straight victory over Zimbabwe in a three match one-day international series.
“The pitch appears better and a lot harder than two days ago,” said Indian captain KL Rahul at the toss. “There is a bit in the air and, hopefully, we can bowl really well again.”
The story afterward was rather similar to the first match on Thursday. The pacers doing some damage after a slow start, and India finishing things off with overs to spare.
The tourists made one change from the team that cruised to a 10-wicket win on Thursday with Shardul Thakar replacing Deepak Chahar. While no reason was provided at the toss by the captain, the broadcasters reported that it was a case of Chahar being rested.
Zimbabwe changed two of their side with Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Tanaka Chivanga coming in for Tadiwanashe Marumani and Richard Ngarava.
While he didn’t get to bat in the first match, Rahul came out to open for this match with Dhawan. He was out for 1, however, and hoped that the third match can provide him more time in the middle.
Rahul said: “We bat deep and it is good for some of the guys to get time in the middle. We were not nervous despite my early, cheap dismissal.
- ‘Good challenge’ -
“I wanted to get some runs but it did not happen. Hopefully in the next game I will be more successful.
“The Zimbabwe bowlers came hard at us, they are big, tall, strong boys, and created a good challenge for us batters.”
India won the toss, chose to field for the second successive match and Shardul Thakur took three wickets as India bowled Zimbabwe out in 38.1 overs.
The medium-fast bowler replaced Deepak Chahar in the only change from the team that won the first match by 10 wickets.
Rahul did not reveal the reason for leaving out Chahar, who had taken three wickets on Thursday and won the player of the match award.
Thakur, known as the Paighar Express after the town north of Mumbai where he was born, captured the wickets of opener Innocent Kaia, captain Regis Chakabva and Jongwe.
The prized wicket of Sikandar Raza, who hit two centuries in a ODI series victory over Bangladesh this month, fell to Kuldeep Yadav after the Pakistan-born batsman scored 16.
Only former Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams and unbeaten Ryan Burl made any impact against the Indian attack, hitting 42 and 39 respectively.
Williams averaged a run a ball in his stand, compiling his total off 42 deliveries, including a six and three fours.
Burl was slightly slower, facing 47 balls, but also struck a six and three fours at Harare Sports Club.
More to follow
Zimbabwe: Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Innocent Kaia, Sean Williams, Wessly Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (captain, WK), Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Brad Evans, Victor Nyauchi, Tanaka Chivanga
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul (capt), Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson (wkt), Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj
(With inputs from AFP)