A disciplined India notched up a convincing seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the third one-day International to win the series and secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series here on Sunday,
Amit Mishra scalped four wickets and skipper Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 88-ball 68 to emerge as star performers for India as they guided the visitors to their third straight victory in the series.
Mishra led a disciplined show by the bowlers as they dismissed Zimbabwe for a paltry 183 in just 46 overs after Kohli won the toss and decided to bowl.
The visitors overhauled the target in 35.3 overs, riding on Kohli’s fifty and useful contributions from Shikhar Dhawan (35), Ambati Rayudu (33) and Suresh Raina (28 not out).
Kohli, who had scored a match-winning 115 in the first ODI, once again led from the front as he starred in three useful partnerships.
He added 40 with Dhawan for the second wicket, before forging a 64-run stand with Rayudu for the third wicket, while it was the unbeaten 56-run partnership off 32 balls with Raina which finally took India home.
Chasing 184 to win, openers Rohit Sharma (14) and Shikhar Dhawan (35) made a watchful start as pacers Brian Vitori and Michael Chinouya bowled in tandem.
Sharma’s poor run with the bat in this series continued as he was the first batsman to be sent back to the pavilion when he fall to debutante Chinouya.
Sharma chased a widish length delivery from the pacer only to edge it wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor. The Mumbaikar had scored two fours in his 21 balls.
Dhawan, however, didn’t allow Sharma’s wicket to affect the run flow as he blasted Vitori over square leg for a four and then pulled him for another boundary in the same area in the seventh over.
First down batsman Virat Kohli took one over to get a feel of the wicket and then brought up his first boundary in the ninth over when he whipped Tendai Chatara across the deep backward square leg fence.
Earlier, India bowled Zimbabwe out for 183 in 46 overs in the third ODI of the five-match series at the Harare Sports Club here Sunday.
Sean Williams was the top scorer with 45 while Hamilton Masakadza made 38. Leggie Amit Mishra was the most successful Indian bowler with four for 47 while pacer Mohammad Shami got two for 25.
India inched closer to a series-clinching win after a disciplined show by the bowlers saw them bowl out Zimbabwe for a paltry 183 in the third One-day International, here today.
Amit Mishra was the most impressive of the lot, returning figures of four for 47, while Sean Williams top-scored for Zimababwe with 45 off 53 balls.
Leading 2-0 in the five-match series, skipper Virat Kohli's decision to bowl on winning the toss was vindicated as his pacers struck twice in the first two overs at the Harare Sports Club.
While R Vinay Kumar accounted for Vusi Sibanda even before the hosts could open their account, Mohammed Shami sent back the other-wise reliable Sikander Raza when he had the opener caught behind by Dinesh Karthik.
Hamilton Masakadza (38) and skipper Brendan Taylor (23) added 65 runs for the third wicket to stabilise the innings before Jaydev Unadkat struck with the scoreboard reading 67 for three in the 16th over.
The Zimbabwean captain, who stood his ground after Shami leapt to his left from mid-off to pull off a catch, walked back after the third umpire upheld the on-field umpires' decision. Taylor hit three fours during his 44-ball knock.
Taylor's dismissal was the beginning of slide as Zimbabwe lost three more wickets quickly, with leg-spinner Mishra taking two of them off successive balls.
Coming in to bowl his first over of the match, Mishra tasted success immediately as Masakadza, trying to cut a short of length delivery, edged it to the keeper as the hosts lost their top four batsmen within the first 20 overs. The batsman struck five fours off 53 balls.
Malcolm Waller was out next ball as Mishra had the batsman trapped in front for a golden duck with a googly, leaving the Zimbabweans reeling at 80 for five in the 20th over.
Ravindra Jadeja made it 89 for six as the slow left-arm spinner hit Elton Chigumbura on the pads with one that might have missed the leg stump because of the angle. Williams then added 36 runs for the seventh wicket with Prosper Utseya (10), before the latter was snared by Shami.
Jadeja's flat throw from the square leg did Williams in as the batsman fell short short of the crease at the striker's end after battling it out for 79 minutes. Williams hit two fours and a six during his fighting knock.
The Zimbabwe tail wagged before the innings came to an end. Apart from Mishra, Shami picked up two wickets while there was one apiece for Vinay, Jadeja and Unadkat.
Zimbabwe: 183 allout in 46 overs (Sean Williams 45, Hamilton Masakadza 38; Amit Mishra 4/47).
India: 187 for three in 35.3 overs (Virat Kohli 68 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 35; Tendai Chatara 1/34).