Harare: India slumped to a humiliating 7-wicket defeat against Zimbabwe to all but crash out of the tri-series. The Zimbabwean team won with more than 10 overs to spare, which meant that they also claimed a bonus point in the process.
Chasing 195 to win, Zimbabwe approached the target in clinical fashion with the opening pair of Brendan Taylor (74) and Hamilton Masakadza (66) adding 128. The rest of the work was done by Charles Coventry (20), Elton Chigumbura (16*) and Tatenda Taibu (13*).
For India, Ravindra Jadeja took 2 wickets while Pragyan Ojha captured the only other wicket to fall.
Earlier, after a slow but steady start, the Zimbabwe batsmen got their act together as they inched closer to the three figure mark with all their wickets intact.
India, who started with the combination of Ashok Dinda and Pragyan Ojha failed to make any inroads and could restrict the Zimbabwe batsmen to singles and twos at the best.
A short while later, Taylor reached his fifty off just 59 balls, which included 4 fours and a six.
The Zimbabwean team raced past the three figure mark with all their wickets in hand as the Indian bowlers failed to break through the defense of the opening pair. Zimbabwe’s 100 came in the 20th over of the innings.
After a huge partnership of 128 for the opening wicket, Zimbabwe lost their first wicket in the form of Taylor, who departed after scoring a brilliant 74.
Taylor was caught by Murali Vijay off Ojha as he tried to play a chip shot but miscued it into the hands off Vijay.
The fall of Taylor’s wicket did little to stem the run-flow as the Zimbabwe batsmen continued to capitalize on the ordinary Indian bowling, racing past the 150-run mark in the 30th over of the innings.
Virat Kohli took a stupendous catch to remove the dangerous Masakadza but it all seemed a little too late as Zimbabwe needed just 34 more runs to win with over 18 overs to spare.
Masakadza, who was removed by Jadeja, scored 66 runs off 86 balls including 4 fours and 2 sixes.
Moments after claiming the wicket of Masakadza, Jadeja struck again to send back Coventry for 20. Coventry was caught by Yusuf Pathan at long-on.
During the Indian innings, wickets tumbled at will for Zimbabwe bowlers as India managed a measly 194/9 at the end of the fiftieth over in their crucial tie of the tourney.
Barring the slow but steady efforts of Jadeja, who hit a face-saving half-century, none could come up with anything worth mentioning.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura had won the toss and elected to bowl first, making one change to the side that lost to Sri Lanka in their previous match, bringing in Tatenda Taibu in place of Chris Mpofu.
Losing half the team even before the scoreboard could register a hundred runs, Suresh Raina-led India failed in reading the conditions right in the morning. With the added pressure of having suffered a shock defeat in the first ODI at Bulawayo, Jadeja and Pathan tried to forge a partnership, but the latter fell soon after.
This was after openers Vijay and Dinesh Karthik were claimed by Greg Lamb. Karthik made 33 runs off 47 balls while Vijay struggled his way to 21 runs off 56 balls. Their scalps were soon followed by the wickets of Kohli, Jadeja and skipper Raina, who could not muster a fightback against a disciplined Zimbabwe outfit.
India had dug a hole for themselves even in the middle overs, failing to recover from the painfully slow start.
Pathan was the sixth man to go, getting out plumb in front of the wickets at a score of fifteen runs off Ray Price.
He was followed by the fall of Amit Mishra for a duck, as he lobbed an easy one into the hands of Coventry off Graeme Cremer.