Riding on the back of Shubman Gill’s first international hundred, India won by 13 runs in the final ODI against Zimbabwe to finish a 3-0 clean sweep in Harare on Monday. Although Sikandar Raza (115) threatened to take the match away from the Indians with a resilient knock, the Indian bowlers eventually held their nerves to clinch the match in a thrilling fashion in the last two overs.
Having won the toss and opting to bat first, India scored 289 for 8 and Gill smacked 130 off 97 balls, hitting 15 fours and a six, as Ishan Kishan (50), Shikhar Dhawan (40) and captain KL Rahul (30) also contributed with the bat.
The breakthrough century for the 22-year-old Gill came less than a month after he came agonisingly close to achieving the feat, scoring an unbeaten 98 against the West Indies in Port of Spain.
Gill shared a 140-run third-wicket partnership with Kishan, who reached his half-century before being run out by Tony Munyonga.
In the first ball of the final over Gill sought a boundary, but he achieved height rather than length off a Brad Evans delivery and was caught at long-off by Innocent Kaia. Kishan struck six fours and Dhawan five fours while Rahul put behind him being out for one in the second ODI last Saturday with a knock that included one six and one four.
Fast bowler Evans was the only Zimbabwe bowler to impress, taking a career-best five wickets for 54 runs in 10 overs.
Munyonga and Sean Williams built a 46-run third wicket partnership earlier. Deepak Chahar (2/75), Kuldeep Yadav (2/38) and Axar Patel (2/30) all picked up wickets to give India breakthroughs at regular intervals, especially in the middle overs before Raza and Brad Evans stitched a 104-run partnership that had tilted the match in Zimbabwe’s favour.
Shardul Thakur (1/55) and Avesh Khan (3/66) redeemed themselves in the death overs, picking up the wickets of Raza and Evans. The turning point came when Gill took a blinder at long on, fittingly, to end his fellow centurion’s knock. Raza was complimented by the Indian players but that eventually ended the match as a contest.
With this victory, India registered their fifteenth consecutive win over Zimbabwe.
Gill was the player of the match as well as player of the series.
Earlier in the series, India took a 2-0 lead on Saturday through a five-wicket victory. They won the opening match by 10 wickets.
(With AFP inputs)