India started the 2016 African safari with a convincing win over Zimbabwe at Harare on Saturday. After winning the toss, MS Dhoni asked hosts Zimbabwe to bat first and his bowlers backed the skipper's call by restricting the opponents for a paltry total of 168 runs.
After a shaky start, India chased down the target with relative ease thanks to a brilliant century from debutant Lokesh Rahul with 45 balls remaining. The 24-year-old right-handed batsman thus become the first Indian to hit a ton on ODI debut.
He and Ambati Rayudu produced an unbeaten second-wicket stand of 162 runs from 38 overs to take the match away from Zimbabwe, despite a brilliant bowling effort by the hosts new ball bowlers.
Besides Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal and Karun Nair also made their respective international debuts. Chahal, playing his first international match, impressed everyone.
The spinner's figures of 10-1-27-1 was only a continuation from his IPL good showing. But the foundation to India's win was set up by Jasprit Bumrah, who took four wickets. MS Dhoni used five bowlers – in Dhawal Kulkarni, Barinder Sran, Bumrah, Axar Patel and Chahal – and all of them did well.
The next match will be held on Monday, at the same venue.
INDIA INNINGS; TARGET 169
OVER 42.3 || SCORE 173/1 (Rahul 100; Rayudu 62)
Brilliant from Lokesh Rahul. He hit the third ball of the over for a six to end the chase. Hundred on debut for the 24-year-old from Bangalore. He took 115 balls, which included seven fours and that six.
Thus, India won the match by nine wickets. A thumping win.
OVER 42 || SCORE 165/1 (Rahul 92; Rayudu 62)
Lokesh Rahul, in no mood to chase personal glory, took a single off the second ball. He needed ten runs to hit a 100 on debut.
Three runs from Chamu Chibhabha's eighth over. His figures: 8-1-14-0.
OVER 41 || SCORE 162/1 (Rahul 90; Rayudu 61)
Power-play started and four runs from the Hamilton Masakadza's second over.
India need seven runs from nine overs. In between, Lokesh Rahul and Ambati Rayudu have added 151 runs in 36.3 overs for the second wicket partnership.
OVER 40 || SCORE 158/1 (Rahul 88; Rayudu 59)
Chamu Chibhabha on for his seventh over, and two runs from it. His figures so far: 7-1-11-0.
India need another 11 runs from 10 overs.
OVER 38 || SCORE 156/1 (Rahul 87; Rayudu 58)
Lokesh Rahul became India's highest scorer on ODI debut. The over started the over with a cover drive, which went for a four. He took a double off the next ball, then took a single after playing a dot ball, to make the record.
Seven runs from Hamilton Masakadza's first over.
OVER 38 || SCORE 149/1 (Rahul 80; Rayudu 58)
Sikandar Raza continued with his fifth over. Four runs, all singles, from the over.
India need another 20 runs from 12 overs. In between, KL Rahul need another seven runs to become India's highest scorer on ODI debut.
OVER 37 || SCORE 145/1 (Rahul 78; Rayudu 56)
Ambati Rayudu, backing up, survived a run-out chance as he was stranded in the middle after trying to steal a quick single. A single from the over and Zimbabwean skipper Graeme Cremer completed his qouta of 10 overs. His figures: 10-0-47-0.
India need another 24 runs from 13 overs.
OVER 36 || SCORE 144/1 (Rahul 78; Rayudu 55)
After the drinks break, Sikandar Raza returned for his fourth over. And seven runs from it, with the last ball going for a four.
Ambati Rayudu took a double off the first ball, then three dot balls followed. He took a single off the fourth ball to give strike to KL Rahul.
Last ball, a short one, was dispatched for a four through mid-off.
India need another 25 runs from 14 overs.
OVER 35 || SCORE 137/1 (Rahul 74; Rayudu 52)
India have added 20 runs in the last five overs. In the process, Ambati Rayudu also reached his fifty off 93 balls. He along with KL Rahul have added 126 runs in 30.3 overs.
India need another 32 runs from 15 overs.
OVER 33 || SCORE 131/1 (Rahul 71; Rayudu 49)
Four runs from Graeme Cremer's eighth over – two singles and a double.
India need another 38 runs from 17 overs.
OVER 32 || SCORE 127/1 (Rahul 68; Rayudu 48)
Three runs from Sikander Raza's second over, all to KL Rahul.
India need another 42 runs from 18 overs.
OVER 31 || SCORE 124/1 (Rahul 65; Rayudu 48)
Seven runs from the over as Ambati Rahudu moved closer to his fifty.
After three singles off the first three balls, Rayudu hit a four through deep square leg.
Graeme Cremer completed seven overs, for 38 runs without success.
OVER 30 || SCORE 117/1 (Rahul 63; Rayudu 43)
Two tidy overs from Zimbabwe bowlers, three and four runs from the 29th and 30th overs respectively.
Graeme Cremer introduced Sikander Raza in 30th over, which resulted in four runs. In the previous over Cremer conceded only three runs.
India have scored 19 runs in the last five overs.
OVER 28 || SCORE 110/1 (Rahul 60; Rayudu 39)
Taurai Muzarabani produced yet another tidy over for Zimbabwe even as India inched closer to victory. Three runs, all singles from the over.
India need another 59 runs from 22 overs.
OVER 27 || SCORE 108/1 (Rahul 58; Rayudu 39)
Another five-run over for India. In between Lokesh Rahul and Ambati Rayudu have put a 97-run partnership in 22.3 overs.
Cremer's figures so far: 5-0-28-0.
India need another 61 runs from 23 overs.
OVER 26 || SCORE 103/1 (Rahul 55; Rayudu 37)
Bowling change for Zimbabwe. Right-arm medium pacer Taurai Muzarabani on and five runs from the over, all singles.
India need another 66 runs from 24 overs.
OVER 25 || SCORE 98/1 (Rahul 52; Rayudu 35)
Another good over for Zimbabwe as skipper Graeme Cremer leak only three runs, all singles.
India need another 71 runs from 25 overs.
OVER 24 || SCORE 95/1 (Rahul 50; Rayudu 34)
A maiden over from Chatara somehow put a break on India's scoring. He has been brilliant so far. He has leaked only 20 runs from seven overs.
OVER 23 || SCORE 95/1 (Rahul 50; Rayudu 34)
KL Rahul became only the second Indian batsman to hit a fifty on debut, after Robin Uthappa. He brought up the mini-milestone with a single off the fourth ball of the 22nd over. He took 57 balls, which included five fours.
12 runs from Graeme Cremer's third over. The over started with Rahul hitting back-to-back fours.
India need 74 more runs from 27 overs.
In the previous over, bowled by Chatara, India added six runs.
OVER 21 || SCORE 77/1 (Rahul 39; Rayudu 27)
Lokesh Rahul survived two half-chances, first at point then at mid-off. Eight runs from the over, thanks to a four off the blade of Ambati Rayudu off the third ball – a delightful straight drive, and a double and two singles.
Thus Elton Chigumbura continued to leak runs. His figures so far: 4-0-34-0.
OVER 20 || SCORE 68/1 (Rahul 35; Rayudu 22)
On the other hand, Chamu Chibhabha continued to produce the goods for Zimbabwe. A single off his sixth over, to Lokesh Rahul.
And India need exactly hundred runs to win the match, at 3.33.
OVER 19 || SCORE 68/1 (Rahul 35; Rayudu 22)
Huge over for India. 15 runs from Elton Chigumbura's third over as both Lokesh Rahul and Ambati Rayudu hit a four each. They have also posted a fifty-run stand for second wicket from 14 overs.
India need another 101 runs from 31 overs.
OVER 18 || SCORE 53/1 (Rahul 28; Rayudu 16)
Chamu Chibhabha continued for his fifth over and he conceded only three runs. His figures so far: 5-1-8-0. Brilliant.
India need another 116 runs from 32 overs.
OVER 17 || SCORE 50/1 (Rahul 26; Rayudu 15)
Finally a good over for India, just before the drinks. Ambati Rayudu started the 17th over with a four, his first. A loose ball, width off off-stump, and Rayudu cracked through point. Four more singles to make it a eight-run over from Elton Chigumbura.
The previous over, bowled by Chamu Chibhabha, leaked only two runs.
OVER 15 || SCORE 40/1 (Rahul 24; Rayudu 9)
Elton Chigumbura on for Zimbabwe. The right-arm medium pacer conceded three runs from his first over.
KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu have played 63 balls together scoring 29 runs. India's run rate is 2.66.
OVER 14 || SCORE 37/1 (Rahul 22; Rayudu 8)
Chamu Chibhabha continued with his third over even as observant Indian batsmen stuck to taking singles.
After two balls, Zimbabwean fielder Taurai Muzarabani required medical attention. Seemed like a pulled hamstring. No worries though, as the 29-year-old got himself up after few stretches.
Two runs from the over.
At this stage, Zimbabwe were 47 for three.
OVER 13 || SCORE 35/1 (Rahul 21; Rayudu 7)
A busy over as Graeme Cremer conceded five runs, all singles. Lokesh Rahul took a single off the first ball, then after a dot ball, he and Ambati Rayudu took single each off the remaining five balls.
OVER 12 || SCORE 30/1 (Rahul 18; Rayudu 5)
Then first maiden over of the innings, sixth of the match. Chamu Chibhabha tied down Ambati Rayudu with a discipline bowling. He managed beat the gifted Indian batsman more than couple of times.
But the asking rate for India still under control, at 3.65. India need another 139 runs from 38 overs.
OVER 11 || SCORE 30/1 (Rahul 18; Rayudu 5)
Zimbabwean bowlers continued to trouble Indian batsmen. And another bowling change for Zimbabwe. Graeme Cremer on with his leg break. Three runs from the over, all singles.
OVER 10 || SCORE 27/1 (Rahul 17; Rayudu 3)
First bowling change for Zimbabwe. Right arm medium pacer Chamu Chibhabha got his first over of the match, and he conceded two runs — two singles.
India need another 142 runs from 40 overs.
OVER 9 || SCORE 25/1 (Rahul 16; Rayudu 2)
Ambati Rayudu finally got his runs, a double off the fourth ball of the over. He found the gap between the cover fielders and ran for two runs.
Two balls earlier, Lokesh Rahul took a single. Three runs from Chatara's fifth over.
OVER 8 || SCORE 22/1 (Rahul 15; Rayudu 0)
Another five-run over for India as Lokesh Rahul hit his second four before taking a single.
Muzarabani started the over well, with three dot balls. Then, the fourth ball, a fuller one, which was punished by Rahul. A good looking cover drive for four runs.
India need another 147 runs from 42 overs.
OVER 7 || SCORE 17/1 (Rahul 10; Rayudu 0)
Lokesh Rahul got his first four. After a dot ball, he rocked back and played through square cover. He then blocked the next three balls, before taking a single off the last ball.
Five runs from the over, and India need another 152 runs from 43 overs. Ambati Rayudu is yet to open his account, and he has faced six balls.
Chatara's figure so far: 4-0-11-1.
OVER 6 || SCORE 12/1 (Rahul 5; Rayudu 0)
Muzarabani produced yet another good over, conceding only a single. Lokesh Rahul took that single off the third ball and Ambati Rayudu blocked the remaining three balls.
OVER 5 || SCORE 11/1 (Rahul 4; Rayadu 0)
India lost their first wicket in the form of Karun Nair. He tried to play a pull shot but ended up offering an easy catch at short cover, to Sikander Raza.
WICKET: Karun Nair c Sikandar Raza b Tendai Chatara 7 (20b)
That happened in the third ball of the over. Ambati Rayudu is the new man.
OVER 4 || SCORE 10/0 (Nair 7; Rahul 3)
Two brilliant back-to-back overs for Zimbabwe as Chatara and Muzarabani conceded two runs, a single each, in their respective second overs.
India need more 159 runs from 46 overs.
OVER 2 || SCORE 8/0 (Nair 7; Rahul 1)
Muzarabani shared the new ball with Chatara, and another four runs for India as Karun Nair hit his first four. After for dot balls, Nair played a free-flowing drive through extra cover.
OVER 1 || SCORE 4/0 (Nair 3; Rahul 1)
Steady start from the Indian openers. Three runs from Chatara's ovvers, a double and two singles.
Over 49.5 || Score 168/10 (Muzarabani 1)
Bumrah picked two more wickets in the last over of the innings, as Zimbabwe put up a small total of 168 in front of visitors India.
TL Chatara c Rayudu b Bumrah 4 (10b)
E Chigumbura b Bumrah 41 (65b)
Over 49 || Score 166/8 (Chatara 3, Chigumbura 41)
Sran to bowl the penultimate over of the innings. Another excellent over by the seamer. Mere five runs came off it.
Over 48 || Score 161/8 (Chatara 2, Chigumbura 38)
Bumrah virtually picked up the wicket of Chigumbura off the 4th ball, but it was foot no-ball. Still the pacer conceded mere five runs.
Over 47 || Score 156/8 (Chatara 0, Chigumbura 36)
Trying to play a cheeky shot towards fine leg, Cremer got clean bowled. Kulkarni was the bowler on that occasion. Four runs came from the over along with a wicket.
AG Cremer b Kulkarni 8 (11b)
Over 46 || Score 152/7 (Cremer 7, Chigumbura 33)
Skipper Cremer, new to the crease, is looking confident. He picked up his first boundary towards deep mid-wicket in the 45th over bowled by Kulkarni. In the next over bowled by Bumrah, hosts crossed the 150-run mark.
Over 44 || Score 141/7 (Cremer 0, Chigumbura 29)
Mutumbami OUT! Chahal finally picked up his maiden international wicket on debut. Trying to hit the bowler out of the park, Mutumbami gave a simple catch to Rahul at long-off. Skipper Graeme Cremer has come to the middle.
R Mutumbami c Rahul b Chahal 15 (27b)
Over 42 || Score 131/6 (Mutumbami 8, Chigumbura 26)
Runs are still not coming easily for the hosts as Indian bowlers are offering no room to the batsmen to free their arms.
Over 40 || Score 122/6 (Mutumbami 6, Chigumbura 21)
Mutumbami played an upper cut over point region to get a boundary in the 40th over, bowled by pacer Bumrah. In the last ten overs, Zimbabwe's first priority would be to play the entire quota of their 50-overs. At the same time they will also try to up the ante.
Over 38 || Score 116/6 (Mutumbami 0, Chigumbura 19)
Big blow for Zimbabwe as well set Raze (played on) trudged back towards the pavilion. Sran was the bowler on that occasion. It's his 2nd scalp in the match. Richmond Mutumbami has come to the crease.
Sikandar Raza b Sran 23 (54b)
Over 35 || Score 109/5 (Raza 19, Chigumbura 17)
Elton and Raza have already added 32 runs for the sixth wicket, which is the highest wicket partnership for any wicket in the match. Both the batsmen are playing sensible cricket in the middle.
Over 32 || Score 102/5 (Raza 17, Chigumbura 12)
Kulkarni back into the attack. Raza pulled the bowler's first ball to get a boundary towards square leg. First confident shot by a Zimbabwean batsman. In the 32nd over, hosts also crossed the 100-run mark.
Over 29 || Score 90/5 (Raza 10, Chigumbura 7)
Thus far Dhoni has used his less experienced bowlers with good effect. Chigumbura hit his first boundary in 28th over bowled by Chahal.
Over 27 || Score 81/5 (Raza 6, Chigumbura 2)
Spin from both ends as Chahal and Patel are bowling in tandem. Four runs came from the last two overs. Zimbabwe batsmen are finding it difficult to answer the questions ask by Indian bowlers.
Over 25 || Score 77/5 (Raza 4, Chigumbura 0)
Ervine Out! Well set batsman Ervine played an irresponsible shot and lost his wicket. He gave a catch to substitute fielder Fazal at deep mid-wicket. Spinner Axar picked up the wicket.
CR Ervine c sub (FY Fazal) b Patel 21 (45b)
Over 20 || Score 70/4 (Raza 1, Ervine 18)
Finally, Yuzvendra Chahal has come into the attack. In the 20th over, bowled by Bumrah, Zimbabwe lost yet another wicket in the form of Sibanda. It's the 2nd wicket by the pacer in the match.
V Sibanda c Dhoni b Bumrah 5 (21b)
Over 18 || Score 65/3 (Sibanda 3, Ervine 16)
Dhoni should bring debutant Chahal into the attack as nothing much is happening in the middle. In the last five overs, Zimbabwe have scored 21 runs at a run-rate of 4.20.
Over 16 || Score 50/3 (Sibanda 1, Ervine 9)
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel and Bunrah are bowling in tandem. In the 16th over, hosts managed to touch the 50-run mark. So far India have played like champion side.
Over 14 || Score 47/3 (Sibanda 0, Ervine 8)
Chibhabha Out! Inside edge from Chibhabha's willow crashed into his stumps. Vusi Sibanda walked into the middle. Hosts are scoring runs at a run-rate of 3.36.
CJ Chibhabha b Bumrah 13 (42b)
Over 12 || Score 44/2 (Chibhabha 11, Ervine 7)
First bowling change as Jasprit Bumrah has come into the attack. He started his spell on a positive note. But Sran is still continuing from the other end. Ervine collected his first boundary off the last ball off 12th over, bowled by Sran.
Over 10 || Score 32/2 (Chibhabha 10, Ervine 0)
Kulkarni gave India their 2nd breakthrough. Craig Ervine joined Chibhabha after the fall of hosts 2nd wicket. So far, Indian bowlers have managed to keep batsmen silent. Strike bowlers Sran and Kulkarni bowled five overs each without a break. Ervine is yet top open his account.
H Masakadza c Dhoni b Kulkarni 14 (21b)
Over 6 || Score 18/1 (Chibhabha 7, Masakadza 3)
Two more tight overs by Kulkarni and Sran. Both the batsmen in the middle are playing cautiously.
Over 4 || Score 14/1 (Chibhabha 5, Masakadza 1)
Sran is bowling exceptionally well. Zimbabwe batsmen are finding it difficult to face the left-arm seamer. Again three runs from the over.
Over 3 || Score 11/1 (Chibhabha 3, Masakadza 0)
Masakadza has come to the crease. Kulkarni bowled a tight over as he gave mere three runs. Indian bowlers are looking dangerous at the moment.
Over 2 || Score 8/1 (Chibhabha 3)
Barinder Sran to bowl the over. Chibhabha survived a big LBW appeal off the very first ball. In the last ball, Sran gave India their first breakthrough in the form of Moor, who got trapped in front of the wicket.
PJ Moor lbw b Sran 3 (5b)
Over 1 || Score 6/0 (Chibhabha 3, Moor 3)
Dhawal Kulkarni is all set to start the bowling proceedings for India, while, Peter Moor and Chamu Chibhabha have come to the middle to open Zimbabwe's innings. Moor opened his account of the first ball, with the help of a single. Six runs came from the first over.
Three Indian players, KL Rahul, Karun Nair and Yuzvendra Chahal -- are making their ODI debut in the match.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 11, 2016
India have won the TOSS and decided to bowl first.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 11, 2016
Welcome to our LIVE UPDATES of the first ODI, which is being played between Zimbabwe and India at Harare Sports Club.
It's going to be a new sort of challenge for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who will lead a 2nd string team in the entire tour of Zimbabwe, comprising three ODIs and equal number of T20Is.
On the other hand, for hosts Zimbabwe, it's a great opportunity to upset the visitors, who have traveled to the African nation without their match-winners.
Zimbabwe's interim skipper Graeme Cremer will also look to prove a point by leading the side from the front, which might help him become the permanent captain of the national team.
Senior batsmen in Zimbabwe squad - Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine , Elton Chigumbura and Sikandar Raza - might pose a threat to less experienced Indian bowling attack.
As far as visitors are concerned, it's a wonderful chance for the young brigade to prove their mettle, while playing at the highest level.
India: KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran
Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Wellington Masakadza, Tendai Chatara