India beat Zimbabwe, take 4-0 lead

Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), August 1 (IANS) India thrashed Zimbabwe with ease to take a 4-0 lead in their five-match One-Day International (ODI) series at the Queens Sports Club here Thursday.

After bowling out Zimbabwe for the lowest total of the tournament yet -- 144 in 42.4 overs, the visitors reached the target in 30.5 overs with nine wickets to spare.

Opener Rohit Sharma (64 not out) and Suresh Raina (66 not out), promoted up the order, became the architects of the victory, scoring unbeaten half-centuries to take India home without any trouble.

Regular opener Shikhar Dhawan sat out to give a chance to Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who made his ODI debut three years after making his first appearance for India in Tests. However, Pujara was unsuccessful in capitalising on the chance, as he was bowled by medium pacer Tendai Chatara for 13.

Thereon, both Rohit and Raina hit their first half-centuries of the tournament after failing to capitalise, despite decent starts, in the previous three matches at Harare.

Earlier, the Zimbabwe batsmen did not put up a good show after being put in to bat by India skipper Virat Kohli, with only four batsmen getting into double-figures.

Haryana pacer Mohit Sharma had a dream debut by picking up the first wicket of the day when opener Sikandar Raza (7) edged one seaming delivery.

Opener Vusi Sibanda (24) and Hamilton Masakadza (10) tried to strike a partnership but fell soon to the Indian attack. With the wickets of skipper Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams -- both of whom did not get off the mark -- Zimbabwe were reeling at 47/5 in the 16th over.

However, all-rounder Elton Chigumbura (50 not out) and Malcolm Waller (35) put together a crucial 80-run partnership for the sixth wicket to take the home team past the 100-run mark.

But once Waller edged a Mohit Sharma delivery, who took his second international scalp, the Zimbabwean innings crumbled 127/5 to 144 all out as Amit Mishra ran through the lower order, picking up three wickets.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja also claimed two scalps while Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat took a wicket each.

Debutant Mohit Sharma -- 2/26 in his quota of 10 overs with three maidens -- was declared Man of the Match.

The next and final fixture will be played here Saturday.

Brief scores: Zimbabwe 144 all out (Elton Chigumbura 50 not out, Malcom Waller 35, Vusi Sibanda 24; Amit Mishra 3/25, Mohit Sharma 2/26, Ravindra Jadeja 2/28) lost to India 145/1 in 30.5 overs (Suresh Raina 66 not out, Rohit Sharma 64 not out, Cheteshwar Pujara 13; Tendai Chatara 1/31).


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