By BV Swagath
India worked hard to defeat Zimbabwe by 58 runs in the Second ODI at Harare. Jaydev Unadkat proved to be the man with the Midas touch in the Indian victory taking four wickets and running out the Zimbabwean Captain Brendan Taylor.
It wasn’t an easy victory for India as they overcame from a wobbly 65 for 4 to post 294 for 8. With the ball, the visitors received some serious spanking from Sibanda before Unadkat restored the normalcy. Asked to bat first on an early morning pitch at Harare, the visitors lost Rohit Sharma (1) caught low at second slip driving at a juicy away swinger from left-armer Brian Vitori in the 2nd over. Skipper Virat Kohli (14) departed in the 7th over caught by a forward diving Waller at mid on after flicking early to a Jarvis delivery. Kohli created a controversial moment when he stood his ground and argued about the third umpire’s decision that it wasn’t a clean catch.
India would have lost a third wicket as well when Shikhar Dhawan on 3 then was caught behind off Jarvis but the bowler had overstepped. A little later, Dhawan gave a straightforward catch to the keeper off the same bowler but only to get a second life. Despite some erratic bowling, Zimbabwe managed to sustain the pressure on India by getting the wickets of AT Rayudu (caught at covers driving loosely at Vitori) and Suresh Raina (edging to the keeper off Chatara) cheaply.
At 65 for 4 in 16.4 overs, India were in the danger of getting embarrassed by the minnows but the pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik bided their time and took them out of jail. The fourth wicket pair was immensely helped by the club-level bowling from the Zimbabweans with a range of full tosses, half volleys, wides along with several fumbles helping India to collect some easy runs.
Dhawan got another life on 70 when he pulled one to deep mid wicket but only to escape with a boundary. The left-hander made the hosts pay with a 3rd ODI century. Finally Dhawan’s luck ran out when he dragged a sweep from outside leg onto the stumps having scored 116 from 127 balls (with 11 fours and 2 sixes). Slightly before his exit, Dinesh Karthik got out in the 43rd over run out after being sent back by Dhawan. Karthik played a crucial knock to save his place in the team. He came up with 69 from 74 balls (with 6 fours) while adding 167 runs for the 4th wicket with Dhawan.
India faced a mini collapse of sorts from 232 for 4 to 251 for 7 by the 46th over. Fortunately, Vinay Kumar chipped in with a crucial cameo of 27* (from 12 balls) to help India finish with 294 for 8. For Zimbabwe, Brian Vitori bowled well for his 2 for 27 in 8 overs. Brendan Taylor had messed up with the over-rate so badly that he had to bowl part-timer Sean Williams in the final over which was taken for 23 runs.
Zimbabwe Run Chase
Zimbabwe came up with a promising start of 45 in 10.4 overs before Sikandar Raza (20 from 35 balls) was first to be dismissed through a pull off Unadkat. The hosts were going strongly before losing two wickets of a well set Vusi Sibanda (55 from 65 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes) and Brendan Taylor (0) in the 21st over bowled by Unadkat. Sibanda was caught at mid wicket dragging a drive off an inside edge while Taylor got out four balls later trying to set off for a run and then being sent back. Unadkat was quick to get to the ball to complete a run out to leave the hosts at 109 for 3.
India took control of the game totally after Sibanda’s exit and Zimbabwe within no time were reduced to 133 for 6 by the 31st over. Amit Mishra got the wickets of Masakadza (caught sweeping to short fine leg) and Waller (lbw in an attempted paddle sweep). Jadeja prior to those strikes from Mishra contributed with the wicket of Sean Williams (lbw trying out a reverse sweep).
It was hard work for Team India inspite of having Zimbabwe six down as a determined Elton Chigumbura and Propser Utseya dragged the innings almost till the end with a 88-run stand. Chigumbura scored 46 from 58 balls and Utseya came up with 52* (from 65 balls). The two knocks didn’t cause much worry for the visitors as Zimbabwe finished with 236 for 9. Unadkat was the star for India with 4 for 41 in 10 overs which also included three maidens. However, the Man of the Match was Shikhar Dhawan, who was very lucky to score a century thanks to Zimbabwe’s generosity.
Toss and Teams: Zimbabwe have won the toss and asked India to bat first in the Second ODI at Harare. The visitors remain unchanged while Zimbabwe have brought in left-arm pacer Brian Vitori for leggie Mutombodzi.
The pitch is expected to have some moisture to aid lateral movement and should ease out by the afternoon.
Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor (C&WK), Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Shami Ahmed, Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat