The BCCI sent a second string Indian side to tour Zimbabwe as they were confident of beating the cricketing minnows. The squad led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni did exactly that on Wednesday as they thrashed Zimbabwe in the third ODI held at the Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe once again started slowly but built a decent platform putting on 104 for the loss of four wickets before collapsing yet again and losing four wickets in the space of four balls. J Bumrah and Y Chahal once again continued to cause havoc for the Zimbabwean batsmen and in the end managed to bowl them all out for 123 in 42.2 overs.
India decided to give FY Fazal his debut again and sent him to open the batting with K Rahul. The two started slow but slowly opened up once they got used to the pace of the pitch. They chased down the score with an unbeaten partnership as both of them scored half centuries to give India a 3-0 victory. India chased down the runs in 21.5 overs and proved once again that Zimbabwean cricket has gone backwards since the retirement of Heath Streak, Andy Flower and Paul Strang.
The man of the match award was given to J Bumrah who continued to impress with his opening and death bowling. The man of the series award went to K Rahul for compiling a century and a half century in the three match series. Rahul has made a strong case for himself to be a regular part of the Indian ODI and T20 squad and S Dhawan will know that he has to perform a lot more consistently if he wants to keep his place in the team.
In a post match statement, MS Dhoni said “I think the execution has been really good, and that’s the key factor. The fast bowlers and the spinners took wickets and put pressure, so I’m happy with the bowling performance. I don’t mind winning games easily, that’s what you are supposed to do. Yes, it would have been nice if a few of the other batsmen would have had a break. I think after a long time, I will take some time off cricket after this series (T20Is).”
The Indian selectors were hoping to give a number of young batsman a chance to play on the international circuit but a poor performance from Zimbabwe ensured that was very little opportunity for the middle order to make any contribution.