India take unassailable 3-0 lead against Zimbabwe

Harare, July 28 (IANS) Skipper Virat Kohli led from the front with an unbeaten 68 as India strolled to a crushing seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club here Sunday and took an unassailable 3-0 lead over the hosts in their five-match ODI series.

Indian bowlers put on a spirited show with comback man leggie Amit Mishra bagging four for 42 to skittle out Zimbabwe for 183 runs in 46 overs. Mishra was also adjudged as Man of the Match.

Kohli struck an unbeaten 68 off 88 balls and Suresh Raina remained unbeaten on 28 as India strolled to 187 for three with 87 balls to spare. Shikhar Dhawan (35) and Ambati Rayudu (33) also came up with crucial knocks.

Rohit Sharma's dismal showing continued as he fell early again managing to score just 14 and became debutant Michael Chinouya first victim as he played an away going delivery and edged to wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor.

Dhawan, who scored a brilliant 116 in the last match, once again looked to be in sublime touch but his innings ended prematurely with Vusi Sibanda taking a fine catch at short-cover off Tendai Chatara.

With India suddenly reduced to 67 for two, Kohli and Rayudu added 64 runs for the third wicket that took the team to the threshold of a win. They never looked in a hurry and waited to punish the loose deliveries.

Rayudu was well set for what would have been his second half-century but he gave a simple straight catch to Brian Vitori that ended his 54-ball stay. Kohli and Raina then took India home safely with their unfinished 56-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Kohli's 88-ball innings was studded with five fours and a six.

Earlier Zimbabwe, put into bat, were immediately on the backfoot as Vinay Kumar struck with the third ball of the match to remove Sibanda.

Sikandar Raza (1), who made a fluent 82 in the last match, was the next to go, falling victim to Mohammad Shami in the next over.

Hamilton Masakadza (38) and captain Brendan Taylor (23) stemmed the rot with a 65-run partnership for the third wicket. But the latter's wicket again triggered a batting collapse.

At 89 for six, the hosts were staring down the barrel but a fighting 45 off 53 balls from Sean Williams brought some respectability to the proceedings. Williams was unfortunate to be run out with the score on 133 for eight.

It seemed Zimbabwe would be bowled out before they reach the 150-run mark but a cameo from Tendai Chatara (23) and Brian Vitori (17) took them to 183.

Mishra took four wickets for 47 while Mohammad Shami picked up two. Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat and Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with a wicket apiece.

Matches

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