An all-round effort helped India inflict an eight-wicket defeat on Zimbabwe in the second One-Day International (ODI) to seal the three-match cricket series 2-0 at Harare on Monday
Harare: A clinical India clinched the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, pulling off another fine all-round show to crush the minnows by eight wickets for an unassailable 2-0 lead, here today.
India pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (second from right) celebrates the wicket of Zimbabwe’s Chamunorwa Chibhabha (left) with teammate KL Rahul during the second ODI at Harare yesterday. Pics/AFP
It was a dominant performance yet again from the new-look Indian side whose bowlers first skittled the hosts for a lowly 126 in 34.3 overs and the batsmen hardly broke a sweat to get past the target in only 26.5 overs.
Chasing a modest 127, India's young openers Lokesh Rahul (33) and Karun Nair (39) put on a 58-run stand before Nair and Ambati Rayudu (41 not out) forged another 67-run second-wicket partnership to take India within sniffing distance. Manish Pandey (4) finished off the proceedings with a boundary to cover, India pocketing the win with 139 balls to spare.
India’s Ambati Rayudu plays one on the off-side during his unbeaten 44-ball 41 against Zimbabwe at Harare yesterday
If India manage a 'whitewash' by winning the third ODI on Wednesday, then it would be a hat-trick of series wins for the Indian teams, maintaining a clean slate in the African nation after their victories in 2013 and 2015.
If young leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3/25) broke the backbone of the Zimbabwe middle-order, it was Rayudu whose 41 off 44 balls to finish the game with a flourish.
With the target hardly posing any challenge, last match's centurion Rahul (33) added 58 runs in company of Nair (39 off 68 balls) for the opening stand. The Rayudu-Nair pair added 67 runs for the second wicket.
Nair, on his part, got much-needed confidence with some runs under his belt but the manner in which he played was more about self preservation on a slightly tricky track.
When Nair was finally gone trying to sweep a straight delivery from Graeme Cremer, India needed only two runs which Manish Pandey completed with a boundary. But it was Rayudu, who hit a flurry of boundaries -- seven in all to finish the match with 23.1 overs to spare.
With ball darting around a bit, the Indian batsmen were cautious and Nair for one was lucky to get a reprieve when he edged one off Tendai Chatara only to find that the bowler had overstepped.
He celebrated his charmed life with a down the ground hit off the very next ball.
Nair also drove and pulled Chatara for a couple of boundaries to settle down into a good rhythm.
Chatara was also handed some rough treatment from Rahul who got a couple of boundaries with a cover drive and a cut shot. He also got a couple of boundaries off seamer Taurai Muzarabani.
Rahul looked solid for at least another half-century but he dragged one from Chamu Chibhabha onto his stumps. He had four boundaries in his 50-ball knock.
Rayudu, who was unusually subdued during his half-century in the first game, started with a couple of boundaries off Chatara followed by a couple of fours each off Elton Chigumbura and Chibhabha.
When Rayudu came into bat, Nair was on 22 but was on even keel with his junior partner by the time they reached the mid-30s score.
In the end, it was another lopsided contest that went India's way with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni not needing to even wear his leg guards for the second time in a row.
Earlier, legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal picked three wickets as India produced another professional bowling effort to dismiss a fragile Zimbabwe batting line-up for 126.
Zimbabwe lost their last seven wickets for 20 runs to be bundled out in 34.3 overs. Indian pacers Barinder Sran (2/17) and Dhawal Kulkarni (2/31) performed their duties early on before leggie Chahal (3/25) joined the party in his second ODI.
It was another chilly morning at the Harare Sports Club and Dhoni, winning the toss for the second time in succession, expectedly put the opposition in.
Sran and Kulkarni got the ball to swing from the word go.
Zimbabwe chose to open with Hamilton Masakadaza (9) and Chamu Chibhabha (21) this time but the move did not work as lack of application from the top-order left them struggling at 39/3 in 10 overs.
The experienced Vusi Sibanda gave the innings some momentum with a fighting 53 off 69 balls, but his fall led to a batting collapse. He shared a handy 67-run stand with Sikandar Raza (16 off 41) to take his side past the 100-run mark.
Chahal triggered the collapse by removing Raza and Elton Chigumbura (0) to be on a hat-trick. Thirteen balls later, the spinner sent back Sibanda to have Zimbabwe in further trouble at 107 for six.
Sibanda was the lone warhorse for Zimbabwe as he completed his 21st ODI half century. His knock comprised six fours and a six.
It was a fresh pitch used for this game but stroke-making remained difficult.
More than the conditions, the Zimbabwe batsmen had themselves to blame as they did not learn from the mistakes made in the opening game.
Number 11 Sean Williams did not come out to bat owing to a sudden finger injury.
The teams will now lock horns in the inconsequential third ODI on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe: 126 all out in 34.3 overs (Vusi Sibanda 53; Yuzvendra Chahal 2/25, Barinder Sran 2/17, Dhawal Kulkarni 2/31)
India: 129/2 in 26.5 overs (Lokesh Rahul 33, Karun Nair 39, Ambati Rayudu 41 not out).