India called on Pakistan to withdraw from territories it occupies within India and to cease cross-border terrorism.
Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill both scored unbeaten fiftys as India easily defeated Zimbabwe in the first ODI of the series on Thursday at the Harare Sports Club. Vice-captain Deepak Chahar’s opening burst of 3-27, along with three-wicket hauls from Axar Patel and Prasidh Krishna, three-wicket hauls from Shubman Gill and unbeaten scores of 50 from vice-captain Shikhar Dhawan.
Zimbabwe was bowled out for 189 all out in 40.3 overs thanks to the performances of Chahar, Patel, and Krishna. Gill (82 not out, 4×10, 6×1) and Dhawan (81 not out, 4×9) then put on an unbroken opening combination to help India chase down the score and grab a 1-0 series lead.
The victory marks India’s third ODI triumph over Zimbabwe by a margin of at least ten wickets and their 13th straight win over the hosts in 50-over cricket. The early aggressor Dhawan, who took a backseat for a while when Gill found his stride after a watchful start to the innings, was a key component of the Dhawan-Gill stand.
Dhawan started the 190-run chase off Richard Ngarava with two consecutive boundaries: a tickle through fine leg and a slice over backward point. He and Shubman Gill concentrated on stroke rotation as the Zimbabwean bowlers shouted lbw sometimes.
Dhawan disrupted the pattern of limits by cutting across a square gully on some of Ngarava’s width. Dhawan promptly robbed Sean Williams while Gill continued to take his time, and he also got a life when Brad Evans dropped the catch at square leg.
Gill, who had gone 24 balls without a boundary, now had back-to-back boundaries off Evans. An edge through the empty slip region was followed by a cut on a short delivery via the square region. He punched through cover point to end the 14th over, which saw 16 runs scored.
On the very next ball, Dhawan lofted inside-out over extra cover to bring up India’s hundred and finish the century of his opening stand with Gill. Dhawan had just reached fifty when he punched to long-on.
Dhawan and Gill persisted in the chase despite some extras and errant bowling from Zimbabwe’s bowlers. Then, Gill smashed two consecutive fours off Ryan Burl, one through extra cover and the other through cover-point, to achieve his third ODI fifty in the previous four games in just 52 balls.
In order to raise India’s total to 150, Gill smoothly changed gears and struck consecutive deliveries from Madhevere for a four and a six over the leg-side boundary. As India won the match with 115 balls remaining, Dhawan and Gill effortlessly scored the remaining runs, with the latter’s short-arm pull being the standout.
Prior to that, Zimbabwe came very close to hitting 200 thanks to a superb counterattacking performance by Evans (33) and Ngarava (34) who had a record 70-run stand for the ninth wicket, their highest-ever against India.
Siraj was looking good despite some extras being revealed while Chahar took his time to get comfortable. As Chahar squeezed Innocent Kaia for space on the pull and grabbed thick-edge from behind, the short ball worked as intended. When he came back, Tadiwanashe Marumani was poking at a short ball and getting pinched behind.
Williams prodded hesitantly to provide a simple catch to the first slip before Siraj lengthened his length and caused the ball to drift away late. Five balls later, Chahar had his third victim after trapping Wesley Madhevere lbw with a late swing on a full ball. Regis Chakabva’s three boundaries in two overs off Chahar and Siraj provided some comfort for Zimbabwe.
Sikandar Raza got things going with a beautiful drive from Chahar, then he held off a lbw plea the very next ball. However, Krishna, who had already beat him a few occasions, ended his stay. Krishna pushed Raza forward on a full ball, causing him to edge right to the first slip. After scoring two boundaries, Ryan Burl mishandled a pull on Krishna’s short ball that went straight to deep square leg.
Luke Jongwe pushed Zimbabwe’s total above 100 runs in the 26th over with back-to-back boundaries, including a stunning drive past mid-on and a cut through outside off. Chakabva continued to hold down the fort, flicking Krishna for a boundary.
In his subsequent over, Patel caught Jongwe lbw after dismissing Chakabva with a slider to end Zimbabwe’s innings.
From that point on, Evans and Ngarava started their comeback performance. The two occasionally scored boundaries while rotating the strike. Evans then hit Kuldeep Yadav over mid-wicket for the innings’ first six runs. In order to send them to the boundary rope and then dispatch Patel for a massive six over wide long-on, Ngarava gorged on Krishna’s outside off deliveries.
Krishna ended the 70-run stand with a yorker that shook Ngarava’s off-stump as the fans started to roar in support of the home hitters. Victor Nyauchi was forced to edge to first slip by Axar to end Zimbabwe’s innings, which left them at a subpar 189.
(Inputs from IANS)