Clinical – that’s how India went about their task of annihilating Zimbabwe in the third game of the five-match bilateral ODI series. An improved bowling performance saw them bundle out the hosts for a paltry 183, before coasting to victory in 35.3 overs, losing just three wickets in the process.
With today’s win, India wrapped up the series 3-0, exacting some measure of revenge for the previous tour of the African nation.
Here are the Heroes of the Day:
Amit Mishra (4/47 in 10 overs)
The wily leg-spinner once again underlined his worth to this relatively inexperienced Indian side as he picked up four wickets to derail Zimbabwe’s momentum. He broke through in his first over by sending back the dangerous Hamilton Masakadza with a short and slow delivery outside off, inducing a catch to Dinesh Karthik. The very next ball, Mishra removed Malcolm Waller with a flipper, before cleaning up the tail to finish with a flourish.
Having an experienced leg-spinner helps keep the balance of the side, and Mishra’s inclusion for this series has been more than justified.
Virat Kohli (68 n.o. off 88 balls – 5 fours, 1 six)
The Indian captain played a steady knock after Rohit Sharma’s early dismissal. He added 40 runs with the enterprising Shikhar Dhawan before sharing another strong partnership of 64 with the impressive Ambati Rayudu. With his side closing in on victory, Kohli and Suresh Raina (who finally made a decent contribution with the bat) accelerated hard, scoring the remaining 56 runs off just 32 balls to secure the win for their side.
Captaincy seems to bring out the best in Kohli’s batting. Let’s hope he can keep the momentum going for as long as he plays at the international level.
Sean Williams (45 runs off 53 balls – 2 fours, 1 six)
The 27-year-old southpaw emerged as the top scorer for his side with a composed 45, even as wickets tumbled around him. With his side down in the dumps at 89/6, Williams proceeded to add 36 runs for the seventh wicket with former skipper Prosper Utseya, in order to lend some respectability to the final total. He was run-out just as he was beginning to settle down for a big score, needlessly sacrificing his wicket to a misjudged call for a second run. Nevertheless, a rather steady knock from the young man, though he would do well to play an attacking game at times when the situation calls for quick runs.
Hamilton Masakadza (38 runs off 53 balls – 5 fours)
The No. 3 batsman has been guilty of throwing his wicket away just when he was looking set for a big one. He did that once again, for the third game in a row. Having hit five boundaries in a 65-run partnership with skipper Brendan Taylor, he should have carried on for a bigger knock, but instead played an atrocious shot to a rather poor delivery from Amit Mishra.
After Taylor, Masakadza is the most experienced player for Zimbabwe. He needs to fine-tune his approach to an innings if his side are to save face in the series.
With the series lost, Zimbabwe will now play for pride. India, on the other hand, might look to try a few combinations for the last two games – perhaps bringing in Parvez Rasool and Cheteshwar Pujara would be a good option. Over to Bulawayo for the last two games.