Sanju Samson hit an unbeaten 43 as India beat Zimbabwe by five wickets in the second ODI at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. With the win, India also take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, with Monday’s match becoming a dead rubber.
After pacer Shardul Thakur took three wickets while rest of the bowlers took a wicket each as India’s disciplined bowling attack bundled out Zimbabwe for just 161 in 38.1 overs, the visitors were in some discomfort at 97-4. But Samson, who hit three fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 43 off 39 balls and Deepak Hooda (25, including three fours) shared a 56-run stand to get the match in India’s favour with 146 balls remaining.
Chasing 190, K.L. Rahul’s promotion as opener backfired as he was trapped plumb lbw while attempting to flick off Victor Nyauchi. Shikhar Dhawan was aggressive and used his feet well to hit four good-looking boundaries. But he was undone by a well-directed bouncer from Tanaka Chivanga as he pulled but it got big on him and skied to square leg.
Ishan Kishan chopped onto his stumps off Luke Jongwe to depart cheaply. But Shubman Gill, batting at three, was at his classy best, bringing out his signature short-arm jab while oozing class with his off-side boundaries and driving straight down the ground with a full face of the bat. Gill’s promising knock was ended at 33 when he got a top-edge on a slash straight to deep third man.
From 97-4 in 14 overs, Hooda and Samson joined forces to take India over the line. Samson brought up India’s hundred by driving in the gap between cover and mid-off off Jongwe while Hooda ramped a short ball over the keeper for another boundary in the 16th over.
Samson was in his element, smoking Chivanga down the ground for a boundary before slamming Sikandar Raza in the next over through the same region for another four and followed it up by dispatching over long-on for six. After Hooda hit Brad Evans for a boundary through cover, Samson used his feet to smack back-to-back sixes off Sean Williams in the 23rd over.
On Williams’ slower ball, Samson danced down the pitch to smash down the ground. On the very next ball, Williams dropped short and Samson pulled flat over fine leg for another six. Though Hooda was castled by a yorker from Raza to end the 56-run stand for the fifth wicket, Samson finished off the chase in style with a huge six-over long-on to seal the match and series in India’s favour.
(Inputs from IANS)