About the Match
India won the 2nd match against Zimbabwe by 8 wickets to take the ODI series 2-0; the two teams will now play the 3rd ODI at Harare on 15th June and while the contest is a dead rubber, the hosts will try to register a face-saving win here and redeem themselves. The Indians put up an all-round performance yet again, as the bowlers restricted Zimbabwe to a lowly 126, which was then chased down successfully by the well-set Indian top order within 27 overs. Zimbabwe needs to come out all guns blazing if they want to avoid a whitewash and boost their confidence for the upcoming T20s.
Sibanda was the lone fighter in the 2nd ODI, scoring a heroic 53 off 67 deliveries; Chibhabha contributed with a well-made 21 but the others couldn’t build the momentum, falling easy prey to Indian spinners and pacemen. 126 was never going to be enough against a strong batting line-up of the visitors and the bowlers’ good efforts went in vain yet again.
In the first match, the middle-order batsmen tried to build a competitive total with Chigumbura posting 41 from 65 while Sikandar Raza and Craig Ervine played useful knocks. However, the bowlers found it difficult to defend 169 despite good efforts by Chatara, Muzarabani and Chibhabha; although they put up economical spells, wickets were difficult to come by and they lost the match by 9 wickets.
They have good resources with bat and ball but they need to bring in their A-game if they want to outwit India; if batting first, they need to be cautious in their approach to building a solid foundation while in case of a chase, the top order needs to get down to business and score big runs.
Indian openers Rahul and Nair put up a good 50-run opening stand in their chase for 127 runs; Rayudu then continued with his good form posting a well-made 41 off 44 to steer the team towards their second victory. Earlier, the bowlers had combined well with spin and pace to demolish the Zimbabwe batting line-up; speedsters Kulkarni and Sran took 2 wickets each and stifled the opposition while spinner Chahal was stupendous as he claimed 3 scalps and also broke the 100 kph-mark in a clever seam variation.
In the opening game of the series, it was KL Rahul’s ODI debut ton that took the team comfortably to a massive win by 9 wickets; Rayudu took his time but contributed steadily to take the team across the finish line with his 62 off 120. In that match too, the bowlers were exceptional as fast-bowler Bumrah took a superb 4-28 while other pacemen Kulkrani and Sran grabbed 2 wickets each. Spinners Chahal and Patel too found success and they were all brilliant in their line and length to stifle the hosts.
They have already won the 3-match series and the youngsters will be proud of their achievement till now; under Dhoni’s guidance, team India looks well set to make it a 3-0 series win.
Zimbabwe needs to focus on its positives and make them count to emerge as a challenge against a team like India; if they can learn from their mistakes and make a fresh beginning here, they could definitely earn redemption. However, we feel that India with its brigade of young match-winners is better placed to win the last match too on Wednesday.