New Delhi : India outplayed Zimbabwe, again, to seal the three-match ODI series 3-0 in Harare. India completed Zimbabwe whitewash with a comprehensive 10-wicket win over the hosts in the third and final ODI in Harare on Wednesday. MS DHONI collects the trophy and the rest of the team join him and celebrate the victory. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's boys outclassed the hosts in all departments by first bowling them out for their lowest total of 123 in the series with Jasprit Bumrah grabbing 4/22 and then romping home in 21.5 overs.
Openers KL Rahul (63 not out) and debutant Faiz Fazal (55 not out) flayed with what seemed like a club-level bowling attack to guide India home. India also completed a hat-trick of whitewashes against the hosts, having won earlier ODI series by 5-0 and 3-0 margin in 2013 and 2015 when Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane led the sides respectively.
For Dhoni, there were two milestones that he achieved from the series. With 107 wins as captain, he equalled Allan Border for the second highest number of wins in ODI history behind Ricky Ponting (165). Also he became the first Indian wicketkeeper-batsman to complete 350 dismissals in 50-overs cricket. However, there wasn't much else to draw from the three matches as it was one rare series where only four batsmen — namely openers Rahul, Karun Nair, Fazal (this match) and Ambati Rayudu — got a decent hit in the middle.
The entire middle-order — skipper himself, Kedar Jadhav, and Manish Pandey (two balls) — did not get a chance to bat thanks to the impressive effort by the bowlers led by Jasprit Bumrah with 9 wickets from 3 games. The nature of the contest has been of very poor quality as there was only one team which had its foot on the pedal.
While chasing, Rahul enjoyed the pedestrian bowling attack helping himself to a half-century, his second 50 plus score after a hundred on debut while old domestic warhorse Faiz Fazal celebrated his maiden India cap with a polished knock. With only 124 to get, the Indian openers did not need to take any risks yet scored runs at a quick clip to finish off the formalities with minimum fuss. Left-handed Fazal looked elegant as he hit a few gorgeous shots through the cover as well as back past the bowler. Fazal lifted skipper and leg-spinner Graeme Cremer for a straight six.
While Fazal's innings had seven fours and a six in 61 balls, Rahul was more partial towards the cut shot and he also hit some cover drives. When Cremer tried to flight the ball, the Mangalore-lad was quick to pounce on it hitting him into the sightscreen for a six. He hit another six off Chamu Chibhabha over long-on. In all he hit four boundaries and two sixes in 70 balls.
Earlier, Indian bowlers, led by Bumrah, engineered yet another batting collapse of Zimbabwe to dismiss them for a lowly 123 in 42.2 overs. It was a huge embarrassment for Zimbabwe who lost five wickets in a space of 11 deliveries with an addition of four runs in a match that turned out to be an action replay of the two earlier lopsided contests. From 104 for 3 in 32.4 overs, Zimbabwe slumped to 108 for 8 in 34.3 overs as none of the home players showed any resilience in-front a disciplined Indian bowling attack.
For his six wickets, Chahal was named player of the series and Rahul bagged the man of the series award for his 196 runs. Action now moves to the shortest formats where India take on Zimbabwe in three T20Is.