Sanju Samson hit the winning six and remained unbeaten on 43 from 39 balls as India clinched the ODI series against Zimbabwe in the second game at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. The Men in Blue had won the first game a couple of days ago by 10 wickets.
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Chasing Zimbabwe’s 161, India were off to a disastrous start losing captain KL Rahul for just one. Shubman Gill then joined hands with Shikhar Dhawan to put 46 runs together for the second wicket before the latter was out for 33.
Ishan Kishan (6) and Gill (33) too followed suit as India were four down at 97 in the 14th over. However, it was Samson’s partnership with Deepak Hooda that brought India closer to the target. Hooda was out for 25. India won the game by five wickets.
Earlier, comeback man Shardul Thakur was the wrecker-in-chief as the Indian bowlers once again came out on top to skittle out Zimbabwe for 161. In the absence of Deepak Chahar, who missed out after his exploits in the last ODI, Thakur made his presence felt and rocked the Zimbabwe top-order with his double blow in the 12th over. He finished with fine figures of 3/38 in seven overs.
Sean Williams played a counter-attacking knock and top-scored for the hosts with a run-a-ball 42 (1x6, 3x4) after his side was reduced to 31/4 in the 13th over. India brought in part-time off-spinner Deepak Hooda to give the much-needed breakthrough in the form of Williams who went for a pre-meditated pull to be taken at the deep square leg by Shikhar Dhawan.
Ryan Burl made a 47-ball 39 with three boundaries and one six but he ran out of partners as Zimbabwe could not stage a comeback. Their last three wickets fell in just eight balls that included the run-outs of Victor Nyauchi and Tanaka Chivanga.
It would have been worse for the hosts had India were not sloppy on the field as keeper Samson missed one stumping and dropped a difficult catch against Axar Patel, while Kuldeep Yadav missed a sitter off his own bowling.
Mohammed Siraj (8-2-16-1) and Prasidh Krishna (6.1-1-28-1) troubled the struggling Zimbabwe top-order after KL Rahul opted to field, which denied the batters some much-needed practice ahead of the Asia Cup. But the bowlers did not mind.
On a Harare SC surface with nice carry and bounce, the duo worked up good pace, swing and troubled the openers with some good length deliveries as the hosts managed just one run from the first three overs.
Siraj effected a breakthrough in the eighth over before Thakur and Krishna got into the act. Sikander Raza and Wiliams put on a 40-run partnership before Kuldeep struck. Raza tried to attack, but only managed to slice the ball for Ishan Kishan to complete a well-judged catch to trigger a collapse.
With PTI Inputs