A quickfire century from Suresh Raina and an equally aggressive half century from skipper MS Dhoni saw India complete their group stage matches, undefeated! After bowling Zimbabwe out for 287 in the 49th over, India chased the total down with 8 balls and 6 wickets to spare. Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor scored a glorious ton too, but missed out on a victory in his farewell game.
Zimbabwe bat first, India strike early:
This was the first time in the tournament that Zimbabwe found themselves batting first, but it turned out to be an unpleasant affair for them early on. The Indian pace trio of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma picked up a wicket each, to leave Zimbabwe precariously placed at 33/3. The failure of the top order meant that it was all on Brendan Taylor, playing his final international match for the country, to steer the innings forward.
Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams consolidate and seize the initiative
Taylor responded brilliantly to the call of the situation. He paired up with Sean Williams to first lend the innings some kind of direction, before launching an all out assault on the Indian bowlers. The small boundaries in Eden Park also helped immensely. Taylor and Williams came down hard on the spinners – Ashwin and Jadeja – and regularly carted them for boundaries thereby ensuring that they registered uncharacteristically expensive bowling figures in today’s match.
Taylor scores ton, but lower middle order fails to use the platform
Sean Williams scored an assuring 57 ball 50 before being dismissed by Ashwin in the 29th over. Taylor, however, went on to complete a splendid ton to mark his farewell innings as a Zimbabwean cricketer. When Taylor was finally dismissed for 138 (off 110 balls), in the 42nd over, Zimbabwe looked set to boss the final overs, as the scoreboard read 235/5. However, barring a 15 ball 28 run cameo from Sikander Raza, the Zimbabwe lower order failed to fire. The Indian bowlers came back strongly to bowl Zimbabwe out for 287, in the 49th over.
India lose openers early, Rahane and Kohli build partnership
It turned out to be yet another sorry failure for Rohit Sharma, today, as he was dismissed for a score of 16, by Tinashe Panyangara. Shikhar Dhawan, too, failed to produce any fireworks, and India were in a vulnerable position at 21/2 in the seventh over. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, however, steered the chase nicely with a 50 run stand and looked set to take control when an unfortunate misunderstanding between the two culminated in the run out of Rahane.
Kohli could not capitalize on his 38 run innings, as he was bowled by Raza in the 23rd over. India was tottering at 92-4, and prospects of Zimbabwe repeating the upset of Leicester in World Cup 1999 looked bright.
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni take charge, finish things off for India
MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina gave shape to the rescue act and were able to get India across the line for it’s 6th win on the trot in this World Cup. Suresh Raina went on to score a counterattacking 110* of 104 balls, while Dhoni surgically constructed a fine innings of 85 off 76 balls.
In a key moment of the match Suresh Raina was given a lifeline by Hamilton Masakadza when he dropped a skier from the Indian batsman, while fielding at short fine leg. Zimbabwe had lost a golden opportunity to take India down. Raina and Dhoni went on to register 196 runs for the 5th wicket to ensure a close win. In the process Raina and Dhoni also achieved India’s highest partnership during a chase in a World Cup.
Brief Scores – Zimbabwe (287 all out in 48.5 overs, Brendan Taylor 138, Sean Williams 50, Umesh Yadav 3/43) lost to India (288/4 in 48.4 overs, Suresh Raina 110*, MS Dhoni 85*, Panyangara 2/53)
Man of the Match – Suresh Raina