Harare, Aug 18: India registered a dominant 10-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the opening ODI in Harare on Thursday (August 18) and went 1-nil up in the three-match series. Chasing a below-par 190, the opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill shared an unbeaten partnership to hand their team a big win.
Zimbabwe bowlers could hardly pose any challenge to the Indian openers as they scored at ease and overhauled the target in 30.5 overs. Dhawan scored an unbeaten 81 while Gill made 82*.
Earlier in the day, pacer Deepak Chahar impressed on his comeback as Team India bowled out Zimbabwe for 189 in 40.3 overs after putting them to bat first. Zimbabwe batters were tested by India bowlers in the first powerplay as the moisture in the pitch made batting difficult. Chahar - who was making his comeback after a long gap - made use of the conditions and started troubling host batters after settling his nerves.
The right-arm pacer grabbed three wickets in his first spell of 7 overs and pushed the hosts on the backfoot inside 10.1 overs. He, however, took some time to understand the nature of the pitch and get accustomed to the bounce and carry off the surface.
Zimbabwe were four down inside 11 overs as both of India's new-ball bowlers i.e. Chahar and Mohammed Siraj picked up wickets and didn't let the batters score easily. While Chahar dismissed Zimbabwe's opening pair of Innocent Kaia (4) and Tadiwanashe Marumani (8), Siraj dismissed Sean Williams (1) in the first powerplay.
On the first delivery of the 11th over, Chahar dismissed Wesley Medhevere (5). Zimbabwean batting mainstay Sikandar Raza too departed cheaply for 12 after getting caught at slip cordon by Shikhar Dhawan off Prasidh Krishna. With Raza leaving the team in a lurch at 66 for 5, it looked like the hosts will fold before crossing the 100-run mark but the lower-middle order showed some resistance once the pitch got conducive for batting.
Captain Regis Chakabva (35 off 51) balls, kept stringing small partnerships with Ryan Burl (11) and Luke Jongwe (13) and took his team past the triple-figure mark. Burl was dismissed by Prasidh while Chakabva and Jongwe became Axar Patel's victims. Just when things looked bleak for the hosts, Brad Evans (33* off 29) and Richard Ngarava (34) shared a record 70-run stand for the ninth wicket and helped Zimbabwe post a decent 189. This 70-run partnership between Evans and Ngarava is the highest-ever ninth-wicket partnership for Zimbabwe against India in the ODIs.
Chahar (3/27), Krishna (3/50) and Patel (3/24) were the pick of the bowlers for India after captain KL Rahul elected to chase. Kuldeep Yadav was very economical as he completed his full quota of 10 overs and conceded just 36 runs but remained wicketless.