HARARE – India have won the five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe after winning the third match at Harare Sports Club on Sunday by seven wickets to take an unassailable 3-0 lead.
New Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller and his charges desperately needed to win yesterday’s match to stay alive in the series that now moves to Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club for the remainder of the two ODIs.
Waller’s debacle in his maiden series as Zimbabwe coach is in sharp contrast with his predecessor Alan Butcher, who managed to beat the same opposition in back-to-back matches during a triangular home series that also featured Sri Lanka back in 2010.
A lot was expected from the hosts but the script went horribly wrong after captain Brendan Taylor lost the toss and was put in to bat first.
Zimbabwe laboured to 183 runs all out inside 46 overs as the local batmen struggled to deal with Amit Mishra’s variations of googlies, legspinners, sliders and seam-up deliveries.
Mirsha claimed the man of the match gong with figures of 4-47 while Hamilton Masakadza (38), Taylor (23) and Sean Williams (45) were the only Zimbabwean top order batsmen to make significant scores.
Zimbabwe made one change to the team that lost on Friday by bringing in Mid West Rhinos pace bowler Michael Chinouya for fellow seamer Kyle Jarvis while India kept faith in the team that had delivered both of their earlier two victories.
The writing was on the wall for the hosts when the largely reliable opening pair of Sibanda and Sikandar Raza Butt shared a three-ball one run stand for the first wicket.
Sibanda was caught without scoring by Dhawan off pace bowler Vinay Kumar.
Zimbabwe were then dealt a heavy blow when Raza Butt, who scored a career best 82 in the first ODI match of the series, perished on the first ball of the second over.
The Pakistani-born batsman was caught behind by wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off medium seamer Mohammad Shami with the scoreboard reading 2-2.
The going got tough from then on and even though Taylor and Masakadza tried to rebuild the innings while at the same time making the score boardtick.
The task proved impossible and they both returned to the pavilion in 16th and 20th over respectively.
All-rounder Williams was the last recognised batsman left to spearhead the hosts to a defendable total after the wickets of Malcolm Waller (0), Elton Chigumbura (3) and Prosper Utseya (10) but the left-hander needlessly ran himself out in the 35th over.
The world champions made light work of the host’s target racing to victory with a total of 187 runs for the loss of three wickets inside 35.3 overs.
Virat Kohli, India’s stand in captain for this series, was unbeaten on 68 runs together with Suresh Raina on 28.
The hosts managed to get their wickets through seamer Chinouya, who had opener Rohit Sharma (14) caught behind the stumps by Taylor after 5.5 overs.
Seamer Tendai Chatara got the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan (35) who was caught in the covers by Sibanda while Ambati Rayudu (33) was caught and bowled by Brian Vitori with the visitors on 131-3 after 30.1.
Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza Butt, Sean Williams, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor (Capt & wk), Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Michael Chinouya, Prosper Utseya, Tendai Chatara, Brian Vitori.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (Capt), Dinesh Karthik (Wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkt.