Sikandar Raza top-scored with a patient 82 while Elton Chigumbura hit a quickfire 34-ball 43 as Zimbabwe posted a modest 228 for seven in the first One-day International of the five-match series against India here today.
Put in to bat, Zimbabwe seemed to have lost track after a cautious start before Chigumbura’s unbeaten knock gave them the much-needed boost at the Harare Sports Club.
Legspinner Amit Mishra was the most successful Indian bowlers returning figures of three for 43, while there was a wicket apiece for R Vinay Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat and Suresh Raina.
R Vinay Kumar proved to be the most expensive with 57 runs coming off his nine overs.
Pakistan-origin player Raza hit six fours and two sixes while Chigumbura smashed six boundaries and a six during his breezy knock.
Openers Vusi Sibanda and Raza took their time to settle down, hitting just two boundaries in the first 10 overs.
Leaving out medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not help India’s cause initially and though debutant Unadkat, Vinay Kumar and Shami bowled to a disciplined line and length, they failed to take early wickets.
But once the spinners were introduced, Zimbabwe found it difficult to get going and India could have had a wicket in their kitty first up. But Virat Kohli dropped a straight forward catch of Raza at first slip off Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling when he was batting on 27.
However, a couple of overs later, Mishra, in his first ODI in more than two years, gave India their first breakthrough trapping Sibanda lbw for 34 off 72 balls. The opening pair put up a 72-run stand in 21.5 overs.
Zimbabwe continued to crawl and brought up their 100 in the 29th over. It was however followed by two quick wickets.
Even as Sean Williams got off the mark straightaway with a reverse-swept boundary, his stay at the wicket was cut short by Suresh Raina for 15 runs, while new batsman Hamilton Masakadza (11) hit two fours before Mishra saw him off.
Raza, meanwhile, having completed his half-century, started to play freely.
He stole a four, followed by a six over deep midwicket off a Vinay Kumar over, but wickets kept falling at the other end and the hosts managed to reach 167 for five in 41 overs.
It was Mishra who finally dismissed Raza whose 82 came off 112 balls.
In the end it was Chigumbura’s cameo that enabled Zimbabwe cross the 225-run mark.
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