India may look to test bench strength in fourth ODI
Having already clinched the series with an unassailable 3-0 lead, a dominant India may look to test their bench stength when they take on minnows Zimbabwe in the fourth cricket one-dayer here tomorrow
The convincing seven-wicket win in the third ODI gave India the series title, reducing the remaining two ODIs to academic interest and that could prompt the team management to experiment with the combination.
The Indians may look to rest some of the key players and give an opportunity to Cheteshwar Pujara, Parveez Rasool, Mohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane as they have not played a single match in the series. India might look to bring Rahane as one of the openers and give Pujara a chance to lend support to the middle order, while Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Rasool may get a look-in in place of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja or Amit Mishra.
However, it will be difficult for pacer Mohit to make his way to a team which already has youngsters Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Shami doing reasonably well. Whether skipper Virat Kohli hands Mohit his ODI debut by resting R Vinay Kumar, who has been a trifle disappointing, remains to be seen.
Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan has been the run-getters in the series, while Ambati Rayudu did well to score 101 runs in the three ODIs that he has played.
However, the series has not gone well for Rohit Sharma who could manage only 35 runs in the three matches so far and he will look to get his touch back in the remaining ODIs, if he is persisted with. In the bowling department, Amit Mishra has been the most successful bowler in the series, scalping nine wickets, while young pacers Jaydev and Shami too have contributed well to compliment India's batting strength.
For Zimbabwe, the three loses in as many matches at home will be difficult to stomach but skipper Brendan Taylor has to motivate his boys to play out of their skin and restore some pride in the remaining matches.
Batting has been the problem for the hosts in all the three games so far as their batters sometimes faltered in the middle of the innings, while they let go a good start while chasing in another match. The odds were always against Zimbabwe as they were taking on the world champions and Taylor felt it was the "mental toughness" which made all the difference in the end.
For Zimbabwe, Sikandar Raza, E Chigumbura and V Sibanda scored maximum runs but they will have to do more if their team has to pose any threat to the world champions.
Among bowlers, BV Vitori and P Utseya took three wickets each and Zimbabwe would have to add more teeth to their bowling if they have to test the world number one ODI side in the remaining two ODIs.
The conditions at Queens Sports Club will be similar to Harare and is expected to be more batsmen friendly.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (C), Sikandar Raza, Tendai Chatara, Michael Chinouya, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Natsai M'shangwe, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams. Match starts at 12.30 pm (IST).