Bhuvneshwar Kumar registered figures of 10-3-33-4 and Murali Vijay scored a calm half century to take India to an emphatic victory in the 2nd ODI against Zimbabwe in Harare. After posting a total of 271/8 in 50 overs, the visitors never let the Zimbabwe batsmen get a grip on the game. Chamu Chibhabha (72 off 100) fought a lone battle, but could not help his team from crashing to a 62 run defeat.
Vijay and Rahane put up century opening stand for India
Sensing India’s weakness in defending totals, Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura had no hesitation in putting the visitors into bat first, after winning the toss. However, the skipper’s decision backfired as Indian openers Murali Vijay (72 off 95) and Ajinkya Rahane (63 off 83) got together to add 112 runs for the first wicket. Rahane was the aggressor during this opening partnership, as Vijay chose to subdue his attacking instincts in order to play a long innings.
However, Vijay switched gears once Rahane was dismissed in the 26th over. Ambati Rayudu (41 off 50) partnered Vijay during a brisk 47-run stand for the 3rd wicket, before the opener was caught in the deep while attempting an audacious hit out of the ground.
Wickets tumble, but India go past 270
At 159/2 in the 34th over, the Men In Blue must have had their eyes on a 300-plus total, with big hitters like Binny and Uthappa still to come. However, lack of effective partnerships and wickets falling at inopportune moments disrupted India’s plans late in the innings. Manoj Tiwary and Robin Uthappa failed to get going yet again, and it was left to Stuart Binny to boost India’s run rate in the last 5 overs. Binny did his job well with a quickfire 16-ball-25 that took India past the 270 run mark.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar strikes early, pushes Zimbabwe on the backfoot
The hosts had come close to upsetting India just a couple of days ago, while chasing a total of 255. They were chasing a similar total this time, and were hopeful of putting up a tough fight yet again. However, the Indian pacers put paid to all such plans in quick time.
Dhawal Kulkarni got rid off Vusi Sibanda in the 6th over. Bhuvneshwar Kumar followed this up with the wickets of Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura in the 9th and 11th over respectively. The chase looked well and truly over for Zimbabwe at this point of time, with the scoreboard reading 43/3 in 11 overs.
Chamu Chibhabha’s fighting knock not enough, India win series
Zimbabwe batsmen failed to find any rhythm whatsoever in the middle overs, and could never find a hold on the ever increasing required run rate. Harbhajan Singh’s economical spell (10-0-29-1) made life more difficult for the batsmen. The chase was never quite on, and Chibhabha’s wicket in the 32nd over left the home team with no hope of any late-innings flourish. Wicket keeper batsman Mutumbami and Graeme Cremer tried to resurrect the innings with a 52-run stand for the 7th wicket, but it was too little and too late by then.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar came back in the last 5 overs to pick up 2 more wickets and bring the curtains down on Zimbabwe’s struggle. With this win, India also managed to bag the ODI series without much ado!
Man of the Match – Murali Vijay
Brief Scores – India (271/8 in 50 overs, Murali Vijay 72(95), Neville Madziva 4/49) beat Zimbabwe (209 all out in 49 overs, Chamu Chibhabha 72(100), Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/33) by 62 runs