It was all too easy again for the World Champions as they defeated minnows Zimbabwe by 9 wickets in the fourth ODI (Scorecard) of the Celkon Mobile Cup in Bulawayo on Thursday. The Queen’s Park Oval was definitely a better batting surface than Harare where both the sides struggled against the seaming deliveries. At Bulawayo, the par total was expected to be 280 but Zimbabwe batting first could managed just half of that and India cruised to victory with 115 balls to spare.
Asked to bat first after losing the toss, Zimbabwe had a slow start with debutant Mohit Sharma (Player Page) bowling some magic deliveries and Shami Ahmed at the other end also doing the same. Zimbabwe collapsed to 47 for 5 by the 16th over, a damage that was irreparable. Ravindra Jadeja had his influence in three of those five wickets – one by running out Hamlton Masakadza and the other two with his arm balls. Skipper Brendan Taylor continued to have a poor run in the series, and this time was out for a 9-ball duck.
Zimbabwe got some respect to their total thanks to an 80-run stand for the 6th wicket between Malcolm Waller (35 from 77 balls) and Elton Chigumbura, who went on to score 50* (from 66 balls with 4 fours). Amit Mishra wrapped up the Zimbabwean innings with three wickets. Mohit Sharma who broke the sixth wicket stand produced superb figures of 10-3-26-2 which helped him to get the Man of the Match award on Debut.
The Indian run chase was done and dusted in 30.5 overs with Rohit Sharma scoring 64* from 90 balls with 5 fours and a six while Suresh Raina helped himself to 65* from 71 balls with 6 fours. The only casualty for Team India was debutant Cheteshwar Pujara, who looked good for his 13 until he dragged a drive off Tendai Chatara onto his leg stump.
India now are looking for a 5-0 cleansweep with the fifth and final ODI (Series Schedule) to be played on Saturday at this same venue.