MSD-Bumrah-PTI11

Team India pacers had a dream start as Dhawal Kulkarni, Barinder Sran and Jasprit Bumrah put Zimbabwe on the back foot with tight line and length in 1st ODI at Harare Sports Club. The first over by Kulkarni was evidence to the fact there was something on offer for the pacers if pitched in the right area. While Kulkarni produced lateral movement, Sran swung the ball in by rolling his wrist. Bumrah, on the other hand, troubled the batsman with his sling-slot action. Judging by the rhythm the Indian pacers are in, the hosts might bundle out for a paltry total. After 20 overs, Zimbabwe are 70 for 4 in 20 overs. Live Cricket Scorecard: Zimbabwe vs India, IPL 2016, 1st ODI match, at Harare

While Sran’s sharp in-swinger caught Peter Moor in the crease, trapping him in front, Kulkarni persistently bowled in the right channel and produced a nick off Hamilton Masakadza’s outside edge. Bumrah later joined the party and sent Chambu Chibhabha and Vusi Sibanda back to the pavillion.

One third of the Indian team comprises of uncapped players such as Yuzvendra Chahal, Faiz Fazal, Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh and Jayant Yadav. Thus, it was expected that few of these players would make their way in the first ODI itself. To maintain balance in the team composition, Dhoni chose leg-spinner Chahal and swashbuckling batter Nair.

KL Rahul, on the other hand, is playing his maiden ODI match. He has been part of the Indian Test squad for the last 18 months. He would look to make impact with his stylish batsmanship in the shorter formats as well.

India don’t have a specialist opener other than Rahul, which is why Manish Pandey is likely to open with him. Nair will come one-down, followed by Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav. Captain Cool will bat at No. 6 and play the finisher’s role.

Akshar Patel is the only all-rounder in India’s armoury. There’s enough purchase on this track that will help the left-armer get some top-spin. Among spinners, Chahal — the second highest wicket-taker of Indian Premier League (IPL) 9 — will play a crucial role in the middle overs to stop the runs flow as well as take wickets at regular interval.