India in Zimbabwe 2013: Zimbabwe score 228/7 after Sikander Raza's 82

Sikandar Raza missed his century by 18 runs © AFP

By Sarang Bhalerao

Jul 24, 2013

Zimbabwe scored 228 for seven courtesy Sikandar Raza‘s 82 off 112 deliveries against India in the first One-Day International (ODI) at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.

For India, Amit Mishra (three for 43) was the most successful bowler, getting all the three wickets off his deceptive googly which foxed the batsmen.

It was a battle of attrition as Zimbabwe openers, Vusi Sibanda and Raza, began their respective innings cautiously. They were leaving the balls around the off-stump and trying to get their eye in.

Opening bowlers R Vinay Kumar and Mohammad Shami settled into a nice rhythm and utilised the conditions well. There was no perceptible movement off the wicket but Vinay and Shami used variation off the length and kept the run-rate in check. After an impressive opening spell, debutant Jaydev Unadkat and Ravindra Jadeja came into the attack and sustained pressure on Zimbabwe openers.

Zimbabwe brought their fifty up in the 16th over. In the next over Sibanda took the attack to Jadeja when he drove him down the ground for a boundary. However, Sibanda’s partner Raza looked edgy; he played down the wrong line off a Jadeja delivery and the ball caught the edge of his bat and went straight to Virat Kohli at the first slip, who spilled an easy chance.

Zimbabwe were content with taking singles. India’s oldest team member Amit Mishra was introduced into the attack and he made an immediate impact. In his third over the leg-spinner hoodwinked the well-set Sibanda with a googly which the Zimbabwe opener failed to read. Sibanda played down the wrong line and the ball thudded on his pads. The 72-run stand for the opening wicket gave Zimbabwe a solid foundation.

Sean Williams replaced Sibanda and immediately announced his intentions with attacking instincts. Williams, the son of a hockey coach, used the reverse-sweep to unsettle Mishra and got a boundary. Raza was complimenting the attacking Williams well, taking calculated chances. A shot off Shami’s comeback over (28th of the innings) was akin to a baseball hit from Raza.

Just when the second-wicket stand was looking set, Kohli introduced part-time bowler Suresh Raina into the attack. Williams played across the line to Raina’s straight delivery losing his concentration just a little and he was bowled.

Hamilton Masakadza, who joined Raza, looked aggressive as he cut Jadeja behind point for a boundary and gave charge to Mishra lifting him over mid-on for the same result. But he was undone by Mishra’s googly as he tried to hoick the right-arm spinner over mid-wicket, but was befuddled by the wrong’un.

Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor walked in at No 5 and alongwith Raza he tried giving the innings some momentum. After 35 overs Zimbabwe had to take the mandatory batting Powerplay. Raza hit a six off the first Powerplay over; it was a straight six over Vinay Kumar’s head. In Vinay’s second over of the Powerplay, Raza slapped the ball over mid-off and the next was flicked cleanly over mid-wicket for a six.

Zimbabwe lost Taylor off the bowling of Undakat when the skipper tried to pull the Indian debutant’s slower ball over square-leg. But he was caught by Raina at deep square-leg. Immediately after Taylor’s wicket, Zimbabwe lost Malcolm Waller for two when he played inside the line of Shami’s delivery and was bowled.

Elton Chigumbura began steadily but got the impetus to Zimbabwe score by hitting a couple of boundaries off Shami. Raza, who was nearing his maiden century was dismissed off Mishra’s googly when he tried to force the pull and missed it completely. Raza’s innings was punctuated by six fours and two sixes.

Chigumbura helped himself to some easy runs as Vinay was bowling some freebies. With the fine-leg up in the circle, Vinay bowled a short delivery which Chigumbura pulled past the fielder. Another slower short delivery was bowled which Chigumbura chipped away to the third-man boundary. He finished with 43 not out off 34 balls to bolster Zimbabwe’s scoring rate in the last five overs.

Brief scores:

Zimbabwe 228 for 7 in 50 overs (Sikandar Raza 82, Elton Chigumbura 43*; Amit Mishra 3 for 43) vs India.

Full Scorecard