An unbeaten 192-run opening stand between Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill helped India to a 10-wicket victory as they went 1-0 up in the ODI series against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Thursday.
Putting Zimbabwe in to bat first, the Indian pacers were aiming to exploit any movement the pitch had to offer in the morning.
Tadiwanashe Marumani and Innocent Kaia had a circumspect start, with both Deepak Chahar and Mohammad Siraj extracting some extravagant movement. After surviving some close calls, India finally had a breakthrough, with Chahar dismissing Kaia courtesy a short delivery. This would open up the floodgates.
Marumani would be Chahar’s next victim and Sean Williams could not last long, with Siraj sending him packing for 1. Chahar would get his third, with some late swing trapping Wesley Madhevere’s plumb in front of the stumps. Reduced to 31/4, Zimbabwe were now in a world of trouble.
The wickets would continue to tumble for Zimbabwe as Axar Patel and Prasidh Krishna joined in on the act. Both would scalp two wickets apiece, reducing Zimbabwe to 110/8, with the lower middle-order failing to contribute much.
But Brad Evans and Richard Ngarava would embark on some late rearguard action, helping the hosts save their blushes. The pair saw their partnership last 65 deliveries, aggregating 70 runs, which took Zimbabwe close to a total of 200.
Ngarava would score 34 off 42 deliveries, smashing 3 fours and 1 six, before he was bowled by Krishna. Evans would remain unbeaten on 33, also hitting 3 boundaries and 1 six.
Zimbabwe’s innings would finally come to an end when Axar dismissed Victor Nyauchi for 8, with the hosts putting up a total of 189 on the board.
With a modest target to chase, India started off with a bang signaling their intent from the first delivery. Shikhar Dhawan began with back-to-back fours off Ngarava. Both he and Shubman Gill were careful in their approach but saw off the bad deliveries with ease. Zimbabwe’s bad run in the field helped the visitors, with Dhawan being dropped on 32. Gill soon joined the party smashing three fours off Evans in one over to push India further. Both batters brought up their respective fifties.
With the milestones under their belts, the two openers broke free, scoring runs at a faster tempo. They scaled the target with all 10 wickets in hand and 19.1 overs to spare.
India now have 13 consecutive ODI wins against Zimbabwe – their most against a single opponent.
Zimbabwe will be hoping to keep the series alive when the two teams meet in the second ODI at the same venue on Saturday.