About the Match
The first ODI between the hosts Zimbabwe and India in the 5-match bilateral ODI series will be played on July 24, 2013 Wednesday. The match will be played at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe and will begin at 1.30 PM IST.
India would be high on confidence having won the recent concluded 2013 Champions Trophy and the Celkon Mobile Cup Tri-Series featuring Sri Lanka and West Indies in West Indies. However the management has given rest to big players including one of the most successful captains MS Dhoni, fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma and the off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The team would be led by the young Virat Kohli who has been in decent form and had also led the side recently in the tri-series after Dhoni got injured during the series. The batting would depend a lot on the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and in-form Shikhar Dhawan. Both the batsmen have done well and have managed to get three century partnerships till now with an overall average of more than 57. The middle order also looks solid with Kohli, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik who were already in the team. The management has also given chance to some new and talented batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu and surely they will also have a big role to play and would compete for the place once given a chance.
In terms of bowling, the unit looks totally new with just Ravindra Jadeja only a part of the playing 11 to be included in the squad. The management has given chance to bowlers like Parveez Rasool (first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to be selected), and the experienced Amit Mishra with chance to already played Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat and Vinay Kumar.
Talking of the Zimbabwe team, we can say it almost the opposite of the Indian team as it has no big stars really speaking to boast of. The team is led by Brendan Taylor who has a decent batting record against and averages around 46 from four games with 184 runs against India. The team features five pace bowlers including Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Brian Vitori, Elton Chigumbura and Michael Chinouya.
Talking of the stats, India is currently at No.1 position in ICC ODI rankings whereas Zimbabwe is at 10th place. In terms of wins and losses, 51 matches have been played till now between both teams and Zimbabwe has only managed to win 10. However, the point to be noted is that when India last toured Zimbabwe, it lost both matches under the captaincy of Suresh Raina against the host in a tri-series which also included Sri Lanka.
India has a young and not-so-experienced side and with big names and captain being rested, lot of pressure would be there on Virat Kohli and his young boys to deliver. Each one would try their best to take the maximum advantage of every opportunity received and show what they are capable of.
Going by the team records, ranking positions and player performances, India clearly has an edge over the hosts Zimbabwe though the latter is capable of surprising the opponents on a given day and also the fact that they are playing at their home.
So our favorite for this match (and probably the series as well) is India and they should be able to win this match without much fuss and maintain their numero Uno ranking in ODI.
India, 1.14 @ William Hill