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India will look to win the 2nd ODI and also gain a series win  © AFP

India, under the leadership of MS Dhoni, fielded a young and an ambitious team in the first One-Day International (ODI) against Zimbabwe at Harare on Saturday. Dhoni has under his wings as many as three debutants in KL Rahul, Karun Nair and Yuzvendra Chahal, who are coming on the back of a successful Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Electing to bowl first, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Sran chock holed the hosts’ batsmen to a paltry total of 168. In reply, Rahul chanced upon a magnificent ton on debut to help India attain a 1-0 lead in the three-match affair. Nonetheless, with two matches to spare and a series win in sight, Dhoni would not want to fiddle with the winning combination and wait to give bench-warmers a chance in the final match if needed. Vishal Mehra takes a keen look at how India will field against Zimbabwe on Monday. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs Zimbabwe 2016, 2nd ODI at Harare

Top Order: Dhoni would have wanted Nair to spend more time in the middle in the first match, much like what Rahul did. Nair, who had a good season for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2016, would have gotten rid of all the nerves from the earlier game. He would now look to sensibly apply himself in the middle and get as much practice against an incompetent bowling attack. With Faiz Fazal waiting in the wings, he has no option but to put up a commading show. Much has been written, said and spoken about Rahul, it would be unfair to drop him from the side. His ton in the first match cemented his place. Ambati Rayudu, on the other hand, played a commendable innings in the first match to partner Rahul. He struck 120-ball 62 in a mammoth stand of 158 runs for the second wicket with Rahul. ALSO READ: IND vs ZIM 2016, 2nd ODI at Harare: Preview

Middle Order: Manish Pandey currently has a batting average of 90.50 in the five matches he has played so far. Pandey, in his last innings, scored an unbeaten 104 against the mighty Australians. Kedar Jadhav has been another player who features in India’s second-string on the annual tour of Zimbabwe and performs well. However, he has not been in the thick of things when it comes to scoring runs of late. Playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), he could not provide impetus. It will be a conundrum for Dhoni whether to bat at No.5 or No.4. Knowing his desire to bat up the order, it will be interesting to see how Dhoni elevates his batting. Akshar Patel, who has showed once in a blue moon how good he is with the bat, but needs to just attain a level of consistency. Patel bowled excellently well in the first match, giving away just 26 runs in his 10 overs with a wicket to his name.

Lower Order: In the first match, Indian bowlers showed their prowess against a decent batting line-up. Jasprit Bumrah, the leader of India’s bowling unit, has been in the peak of his form. He was tremendous in his spell picking up 4 for 28. Dhawal Kulkarni opened the bowling for India and made early inroads. Barinder Sran, who supported the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), will be confident in his approach after learning from the best in the business. Chahal, displayed a splendid show on his ODI debut. He picked up one wicket and conceded only 27 runs in 10 overs. Knowing how he performed in the IPL, it will be interesting to see how he bowls when the batsmen are on the offensive.

India likely XI: KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk & c), Akshar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Yuzvendra Chahal.

(Vishal Mehra is a reporter at CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime, and plays cricket once a white moon. His twitter handle is @capturethecatch )