India-beats-Zimbabwe-by-9-wickets
KL Rahul stitched up a 162-run stand with Ambati Rayudu © AFP

India’s KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah displayed a dominant show to edge past Zimbabwe by 9 wickets in first ODI at Harare. It was India‘s young and fiery bowling attack that put the visitors in the commanding position. The pace duo of Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Sran made early inroads by scalping two wickets and conceding only 32 runs in the mandatory powerplay. Identifying the nature of the track, MS Dhoni‘s decision to bowl first turned fortunes towards India, as they bundled out the hosts on 168. In reply, Rahul along with Ambati Rayudu chased down the modest total in 42.3 overs. Live Cricket Scorecard: Zimbabwe vs India, IPL 2016, 1st ODI match, at Harare

There was a tinge of grass on the Harare track. Knowing this, Indian seamers persistently bowled disciplined line and length. Struggling Zimbabwe batsmen failed to find their feet and lost wickets at regular intervals. However, it was Elton Chigumbura’s fighting 65-ball 41 that helped the hosts score past 150.

Bumrah, who played his second ODI match, was the star performer in the first innings. He took a match-winning four-for, conceding only 28 runs off 9.5 overs. Zimbabwe batsmen never seemed to have read his sling-shot action. Live Cricket Blog: Zimbabwe vs India, IPL 2016, 1st ODI match, at Harare

In the pursuit of 169 runs, India started steady with Rahul and Rayudu hold fort on a bowler-friendly track. Zimbabwe bowlers kept things simple and kept the might of Indian batsmen at bay in the initial overs. However, the duo scaled up the run-rate as they got accustomed to the conditions.

Rahul scored a stunning century and became the first Indian to achieve this spectacular feat. His swashbuckling innings was studded with seven elegant fours and one mammoth six over deep mid-wicket. The class-apart batsman stitched up a match-winning partnership of 162 runs with Rayudu, for the third wicket.

It was a day for reaching milestones, as Rayudu plundered his 5th ODI fifty to complete 1,000 runs.

Brief Scores:

Zimbabwe 168 all out (Elton Chigumbura 41; Jasprit Bumrah 4 for 28) lost to India 173 for 1 (KL Rahul 100*; Tendai Chatara 1 for 20) by 9 wickets.

Player of the Match: KL Rahul

Full scorecard

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)