India seal series with 7-wicket win over Zimbabwe in 3rd ODI at Harare

Virat Kohli led India to victory in the third ODI against Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 68 © AFP

By Shrikant Shankar

Jul 28, 2013

India comfortably beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the third One-Day International (ODI) to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. Chasing a 184-run target, India lost only three wickets as they reached their total of 187 in 35.3 overs at the Harare Sports Club in Harare on Sunday.

India began their chase on a positive note with both openers — Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan — getting a few early boundaries. One particular shot from Rohit caught the eye as he hit an inside out drive over covers for four. But his low-scoring run in the series continued as he edged one to Brendan Taylor behind the wickets to give debutant Michael Chinouya his first wicket.

Dhawan though, fresh from his century from the previous match, looked in very good touch. He hit five fours in his innings before being dismissed for 35 off 32 balls. He smashed a rank half-volley bowled by Tendai Chatara straight to Vusi Sibanda at short extra-cover. Sibanda managed to hold on to the catch, which came towards him at a ferocious speed.

Ambati Rayudu joined captain Virat Kohli in the middle. The duo added 64 runs for the third wicket. Kohli looked solid and took his time early on. Rayudu, though, was very slow in his scoring. But as the innings progressed, the pair began to assert themselves on the Zimbabwean bowlers. The partnership ended when Rayudu gave a simple return catch back to Brian Vitori, who bowled a length delivery which just held back a bit. Rayudu was dismissed for 33 of 54 balls.

It was only a blip as Suresh Raina came into the middle and essayed a fluent innings. The stylish left-hander also has not been amongst runs in the series, but an unbeaten innings of 28 in 18 balls will give him confidence going into the last two matches.

Kohli scored his 24th ODI half-century and ended at 68 off 88 balls. He struck five fours and one six. India won the match with almost 15 overs to spare to seal the five-match series.

Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe were bowled out for a meager 183 in 46 overs after Kohli had put them into bat. The Zimbabwe innings began horribly as they lost both their openers with only two runs on the board. Hamilton Masakadza (38) and captain Taylor (23) took the hosts out of trouble with a 65-run stand.

Once they were dismissed, Sean Williams carried the innings with a fighting 45. He was run out five short of a well deserved half-century. The lower-order did not give much fight and lost wickets at regular intervals. Chatara (23) and Vitori (17) made the tail wag. The last two wickets yielded 50 runs, but it was not enough.

Amit Mishra was the pick of the bowlers taking four for 47. At one point he was on a hat-trick. Shami Ahmed took two wickets for 25.

Brief scores:

Zimbabwe 183 in 46 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 38, Sean Williams 45; Amit Mishra 4 for 47, Shami Ahmed 2 for 25) lost to India 187 for 3 in 35.3 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 35, Virat Kohli 68*) by 7 wickets.

Man of the Match: Amit Mishra.

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(Shrikant Shankar previously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)