India’s second XI beat Zimbabwe 3-0

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By Kersi Meher-Homji

What, no MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravi Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, Umesh Yadav? I had shouted to myself when I first read the Indian squad for the cricket tour of Zimbabwe.

And my fears were justified when India under new captain Ajinkya Rahane came close to defeat in the first one-day international (ODI). But young India settled in very well to win the three match series 3-0.

The first ODI was a real thriller till the final ball. Zimbabwe needed a six off the last delivery to win the match. But India managed a microscopic win.

All the matches were played in Harare and in all three matches Zimbabwe won the toss and sent India in to bat.

In the first ODI on 10th July, India was struggling at 5 for 87 when Ambati Rayudu (124 not out) and Stuart Binny (77) added 160 runs for the sixth wicket. India made 6 for 255, not a convincing total.

Thanks to a fighting and unbeaten 104 by skipper Elton Chigunbura, the home team fought till the end and made 7 for 251 to lose by only four runs.

Alarm bells must have sounded for the high ranked visitors. Thanks to an opening partnership of 112 by captain Rahane (63) and Murali Vijay (72) in the second ODI two days later, India scored 271. Zimbabwean medium-pacer Neville Madziva captured 4 for 49.

Opening batsman Chamu Chibhabha top scored with 72 but with fast-medium Bhuvneshwar Kumar claiming 4 for 33, Zimbabwe was all out for 209 to lose by 62 runs.

India won the third and final ODI by 83 runs yesterday (14th July) to win the series 3-0. India was in trouble at 4 for 82 but newcomer Kedar Jadhav (105 not out) and Manish Pandey (71) put on 144 precious runs to rescue the visitors. That Indian batsmen scored well in absence of injured Rayudu speaks well of India’s batting potential.

Zimbabwe replied strongly. Chibhabha once again started the innings well with 82 but with Binny taking 3 for 55, Zimbabwe was all out for 193 to lose by 83 runs. It was a whitewash victory for India.

This was India’s 448th win in ODIs.

Jadhav was the Player of the Match and Rayudu the Player of the Series.

At the match presentation, India’s winning debut captain Ajinkya Rahane said, “The partnership between Manish [Pandey] and Jadhav was crucial for us. I am very happy for the boys. They were hungry and up for the series. Rayudu got his hundred in the first game, Vijay in the second and Kedar [Jadhav] here. The bowlers chipped in as well. Rayudu will be okay and will be back in action. He has been doing well for us and is our crucial member of the team.”

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Player of the Match Kedar Jadhav, age 30 and playing only his fourth ODI, said,It is a great feeling and I just want to thank my family, Ajinkya and the support staff [who] have been backing me. The wicket was seaming a bit and I took my time to settle.”


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