A disciplined bowling show, led by Shardul Thakur’s three wickets, and an unbeaten 43 by wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson helped India beat Zimbabwe by five wickets in the second ODI at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. With this win, India also take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, with Monday’s match becoming a dead rubber. The five-wicket victory also means that this was India’s 14th win on the trot over Zimbabwe in ODI cricket. Sanju was awarded man of the match for his impressive knock and three crucial catches. However, the wicket-keeper batsman was not really happy with his performance.
“How much ever time you spend in the middle, it makes you feel good. Even more special to do it for the country. I did take three catches, but I missed a stumping. Really enjoy keeping and batting. I think they (Indian bowlers) were bowling really good areas, a lot of balls came nicely to me,” Saju Samson said during the post-match conference.
After Thakur’s 3-38 in seven overs and the rest of the bowlers took a wicket each to bowl Zimbabwe out for just 161 in 38.1 overs, the visitors were in some discomfort at 97-4 in their chase of 167. But Samson, who hit three fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 43 off 39 balls and Deepak Hooda (25, including three fours) shared a 56-run stand to get the match in India’s favour with 146 balls remaining.
K.L. Rahul’s promotion as opener backfired as he was trapped plumb lbw while attempting to flick off Victor Nyauchi. Shikhar Dhawan was aggressive and used his feet well to hit four good-looking boundaries. But he was undone by a well-directed bouncer from Tanaka Chivanga as he pulled but it got big on him and skied to square leg.
Stand-in skipper Raul also opened up about his team’s performance in the second game, “Not really, we do bat deep. Good for some of the guys to get time in the middle. I do need some time in the middle, obviously playing this series was important for me to take some runs and confidence away, unfortunately, didn’t work out today. They do have some quality bowlers, I saw that in the previous series against Bangladesh as well. The bowlers came strong at us, a good challenge for us. We are here to play good cricket and win, every opportunity is an honour, so we want to go out there next time also to enjoy ourselves and put a good performance. Wherever we travel, we get good support from Indian fans, very thankful for their support.”