Top knocks from Sanju Samson, Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan coupled with world-class bowling from Team India crushed Zimbabwe by five wickets in the second ODI of three-match series here at Harare on Saturday.
With this victory, India has a 2-0 lead in the series and have captured it with one match to go.
The day was not memorable for Zimbabwe as they failed as a batting unit miserably. Though Luke Jongwe gave Team India a small scare during their chase with two quick wickets, the hosts do not have a lot of positives to walk away with. Samson (43*), Gill and Dhawan (33 each) played some good knocks for India.
Chasing 162, India was off to a shaky start. KL Rahul could not do anything special on his return, scoring only one run in five balls before he was trapped leg before wicket by Victor Nyauchi. India was at 5/1 at this point.
Then Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill carried on the innings, ticking the scoreboard for a while. Both batters hit some great shots that reached the fence. Their 42-run stand was broken when Dhawan was caught for 33 by Innocent Kaia at square leg on a Tanaka Chivanga delivery.
Then Gill and Ishan Kishan continued the chase. Gill was the aggressor throughout the innings while Kishan did not hit big. At the end of 10 overs, India was at 75/2, with Gill (33*) and Ishan Kishan (4*) on the crease.
The 36-run stand between the duo was broken after Kishan when medium-pacer Luke Jongwe dislodged his stumps. India at this point at 3/83.
Jongwe produced another breakthrough for Zimbabwe, dismissing Gill for 33 after he was caught by Brad Evans at deep third man.
Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson had the responsibility to keep India going after these sudden hiccups. The duo started playing an aggressive brand of cricket to help India get those final few runs.
Samson in particular was more aggressive. He brought up a fifty-run stand between himself and Hooda with a huge six in the 23rd over.
However, Sikander Raza delivered a breakthrough to Zimbabwe, though really late. Deepak Hooda's stumps were dislodged when he was at 25 off 36 balls. Half of Team India was back in the pavilion at 153 runs.
The match was a mere formality at this point and the duo of Axar Patel (6*) and Sanju Samson (43*) took India home, with almost half of the innings and five wickets left. With this win, India clinched the series 2-0. A huge six from Samson sealed India's seventh consecutive series win against Zimbabwe.
Earlier, superb performance by a world-class Indian bowling lineup made Zimbabwe fold for only 161 runs in just 38.1 overs in the second ODI of the three-match series at Harare on Saturday.
Sean Williams (42) and Ryan Burl (41*) were the only ones who could put up decent contributions for the hosts as Indian bowlers, especially Shardul Thakur (3/38) feasted on the batters and did not allow any big partnership to prosper.
Put into bat first by India, Zimbabwe's openers Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Innocent Kaia failed to provide a solid start to their side. In the ninth over of the game, Kaitano was the first one to get dismissed by pacer Mohammed Siraj for just seven after wicketkeeper Sanju Samson took a brilliant diving catch.
At the end of 10 overs, Zimbabwe was at 26/1 with Kaia (15*) being joined by Wessly Madhevere (0*).
Kaia was the next one to go for 16 as medium-pacer Shardul Thakur struck and Samson took another brilliant catch, reducing the hosts to 2/27. Regis Chakabva (2), the skipper was the next one to go and Thakur got another wicket. Madhevere was also dismissed quickly by pacer Prasidh Krishna for just two after being caught by Samson, sinking Zimbabwe to a troublesome 31/4.
Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams then came and kept the scoreboard ticking for Zimbabwe. It was spinner Kuldeep Yadav who broke a 41-run stand which was looking promising after sending Raza back for 16. Ishan Kishan took a solid catch at the backward point region. At this point, half of the Zimbabwe side was back in the pavilion for 72 runs.
Ryan Burl and Williams were the next pair, they helped their side cross the 100-run mark. Deepak Hooda delivered with his brilliant spin, dismissing a well-set Williams for 42 off 42 balls. Zimbabwe had at this point sunk to 109/6.
The scoreboard kept moving for the hosts for a while thanks to Burl and Luke Jongwe. In the 33rd over of the game, Thakur got his third wicket, dismissing Jongwe for 6 off 16 balls. Zimbabwe was at this point reeling at sub-par 129/7.
Zimbabwe did not get enough time and overs to recover from this wicket as Brad Evans was dismissed by Axar Patel. The batter was left with his stumps rattled due to an inside edge while trying to catch. The score at this point was 149/8.
Miseries were not ending for Zimbabwe, as Victor Nyauchi was the next one to go for just four runs after the duo of KL Rahul and Sanju Samson ran him out. Zimbabwe was just one wicket away from getting bundled out for yet another subpar score, reeling at 160/9.
The duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna put the final nail in the coffin of the hosts, running out Tanaka Chivanga for 4, bundling out Zimbabwe for 161 runs in 38.1 overs.
Shardul Thakur was the pick of the bowlers for India, taking 3/38. Siraj, Krishna, Kuldeep, Hooda and Axar Patel got one wicket each.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 161 in 38.1 overs (Sean Williams 42, Ryan Burl 41*, Shardul Thakur 3/38) lost to India 167/5 in 25.4 overs (Sanju Samson 43*, Shubman Gill 33, Luke Jongwe 2/33). (ANI)