India register an easy 7-wkt win over Zimbabwe
Harare: Skipper Suresh Raina hit a sparkling 72 as India ended their Zimbabwe tour with a spectacular seven-wicket victory over the hosts in the second and final Twenty20 International here on Sunday.
Chasing 141, India made 144 for three in 18 overs at the Harare Sports Club ground with Raina dispatching Chris Mpofu to boundary for the winning runs.
Tatenda Taibu earlier top-scored with 45 and shared a 43-run stand for the fourth wicket with Charles Coventry (28 off 13) to steer Zimbabwe to 140 for five.
Raina stepped on to the field after the fall of Naman Ojha (10) in fifth over and stayed till the job was done.
Along with Murali Vijay (46), Raina shared a 79-run stand for the second wicket, which set up the second comfortable Indian win in as many days.
Raina’s 44-ball knock had six fours and two sixes in it.
After an ordinary show in the three-week tour, Vijay finally got some runs under his belt and the Chennai batsman would be relived after playing a good hand in the Indian win.
Vijay and skipper Suresh Raina batted with ease and were hardly troubled by the host bowlers.
Vijay missed out on his half-century when he attempted a big shot but off Chamu Chibhabha and his checked shot landed in the hands of Graeme Cremer in the 15th over.
Raina continued the good work and carried the team home just after losing another partner in Yusuf Pathan (4).
India’s consecutive win, after a lacklustre show in the ODI tri-series, would do a world of good to the confidence of its youngsters just ahead of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.
Earlier, confident of chasing down whatever the hosts would put on board, Raina yet again invited the hosts to bat but despite having them in clutches they leaked too many runs in the second half to allow them a come back in the match.
While in the first 10 overs India conceded just 47 runs including a mere five boundaries, spinners struggled to keep the run flow in check and the last over cost India 93 runs.
The slow bowlers could not weave the same magic they had created in the first Twenty20 and leaked 95 runs in the 12 overs shared by Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra and R Ashwin.
Ashwin bled most runs as he ended up giving away 48 runs in his four overs.
Taibu, whose 45 came off 40 balls with just two fours, shaped the hosts innings well and along with Charles Coventry (28 off 13) rescued the side with a defiant 43-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Before that stand opener Brendan Taylor played a patient 33-ball 27 to help the side overcome the early jolts of losing Hamilton Masakadza (2) and Chamu Chibhabha (7).
Indian pacers, especially Ashok Dinda, were exceptional and did a tremendous job. The Bengal medium fast bowler gave away just 15 runs in his four-over quota and took two wickets.
Things were set beautifully for India but gritty batting by Taibu and Coventry made it a contest for the visitors.