India Vs Zimbabwe ODI series 2016 review

Want to know about the India Vs Zimbabwe ODI series of June 2016? India started their long season 2016-17 on 11th June 2016 at Harare sports club against Zimbabwe. This series was more of a trial for youngsters more than a serious series as only a couple of regular names were on the tour. This article provides a detailed update and review of the series.

Although this tour was not going to make any difference to ICC rankings of Indian cricket team, it was a great chance for some youngsters to prove their worth for coming season. The team was full with players who have performed exceptionally well in 2015-16 season of Ranji Trophy and IPL-9. There were a number of debutants like Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Faiz Fazal and Yazuvendra Chahal. Faiz Fazal was a surprise selection on this tour as he was not with any IPL franchise this season and since he has reached into his thirties, he is more of a journeyman than a youngster. He was rewarded for a great first class season. This series was an audition for Indian youngsters while opportunity for Zimbabwe to take advantage of an inexperienced Indian team and improve their ICC rankings but they failed miserably.

All three matches were played in Harare Sports Club which is also known as Salisbury Sports club. It is historical cricket venue of Zimbabwe. Let's review all the three matches and see how both the teams fared:

First ODI, 11th June, 2016

In the series opener, Captain M.S.Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first. Barinder Saran picked up an early wicket as he removed Peter Moor in the second over of the inning. Hamilton Maskadza and Carlton Chibhabha put on 22 runs for third wicket before Kulkarni struck to remove Maskadza. Zimbabwe's inning never got going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Cameos from Elton Chigumbura (41) and Sikandar Raza (23) took Zimbabwe past 150. Craig Ervine timed the ball well for his 21 but failed to breach the gaps before he was caught by substitute Faiz Fazal of Axar Patel. Jasprit Bumrah was the most impressive bowler as he picked up 4 for 28. He bowled 44 dot balls of 59 that he bowled. Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Saran were impressive as well as they both picked up 2 for 42 in their 10 overs. Yazuvendra Chahal was impressive on his debut as he picked up 1 for 27. He mixed his leg breaks with slower flighted balls and occasional googlies to confuse Zimbabwe batsmen despite not getting enough help from the surface which had a bit of grass in it. Zimbabwe were bundled out for 168 in 49.5 overs which was way below the average score on that track.

Chasing 168, India lost debutant opener Karun Nair in fifth over when he was caught by Raza of Chatara. This was only moment of celebration in the second inning for Zimbabwe as another debutant KL Rahul along with number three Ambati Rayudu put on a huge partnership of 162 runs to hand Zimbabwe a thrashing of 9 wickets with 45 balls remaining. Rahul became first Indian cricketer to score a hundred on ODI debut. He was flawless in his inning of 100 runs of 115 balls as he struck 7 fours and 1 six. He rotated the strike well and found gaps with ease. Rayudu was enjoying debutant's inning from other end as he himself found some form as he beautifully complemented Rahul with his steady 62 of 120 balls. Zimbabwe bowlers tried to put some pressure in the middle overs, specially Chigumbura who went for just 14 in his 8 overs but Rahul and Rayudu kept their cool and waited for the loose balls and never missed the opportunity to put them away and at the end, 168 was too less of a target for Zimbabwe bowlers to defend.

Second ODI, 13th June, 2016

The second ODI was nothing different than the first one. M.S.Dhoni won the toss and again invited Zimbabwe to bat first. Just like the previous match, Barinder Saran gave India their first breakthrough as he removed Hamilton Maskadza. Peter Moor followed him soon as he was trapped in front of the bowling of Saran. Carlton Chibhabha was looking good before Kulkarni removed him for 21. Vusi Sibanda fought along with Sikander Raza as they both put up a partnership of 67 runs for 4th wicket but once Raza got out, Zimbabwe's inning collapsed in no time. They lost 6 wickets for just 20 runs. Sean Williams didn't batted as he was injured. Another disastrous batting effort from Zimbabwe batsmen meant they put on another small total of just 126 runs and this time around they even failed to make full use of their overs. They were bundled out in just 34.3 overs. Yazuvendra Chahal, playing only his second game, picked up 3 for 25 in his 6 overs while Axar Patel was consistent with his line and length as he usually does. Kulkarni and Saran picked up 2 wickets each while Bumrah again made life hell for the batsmen as he bowled 27 dot balls out of 36 he bowled. Inexperienced Zimbabwe batsmen had no clue whatsoever against his unusual action.

Chasing 127 was not a huge task for Indian batting linuup. Rahul (33) and Nair (39) added 58 runs before Rahul was bowled by Chibhabha. Rayudu came in and played some brilliant shots as he added 65 runs along with Nair. Rayudu contributed heavily in the partnership as Nair was enjoying his time in the middle on the other end. Raza removed Nair in 27th over but it was too late as India needed only 2 runs by then. Manish Pandey smashed a boundary to wrap up the series for India with one match to go. None of the Zimbabwe bowlers were able to trouble the batsmen. Chigumbura went for 20 runs in his two overs. Chibhabha picked up 1 for 31 but the total was too less to have Indians in any spot of bother.

Third ODI, 15th June, 2016

Just when you thought that the second match was very identical to the first one, the third match was exact copy of the second one except that Zimbabwe won the toss this time around and elected to bat first. Maskadza was dismissed by Kulkarni in 6th over for 8. Chibhabha (27) added 35 runs for third wicket with Sibanda (38). Chahal dismissed Chibhabha in 20th over when Timycen Maruma arrived at the crease. Sibanda along with Maruma added further 34 runs for 4th wicket before Chahal struck again to remove Sibanda who was looking set for a big score. Maruma departed soon and again Zimbabwe collapsed in pretty much similar way they did in the previous game. They were 104 for 3 in 33rd over and from there they managed only 19 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 56 balls. Saran and Kulkarni picked up 3 wickets each while Bumrah again bowled flurry of dot balls to put pressure on the batsmen. He bowled 45 dot balls out of his 60. Chahal picked up 2 for 25 in his 8 overs while Axar Patel was again good with his tight left arm spin as he went for just 16 runs in his 10 overs.

124 was never going to be a challenging total for India batsmen with the kind of form they were in. KL Rahul who was in great form in past two matches along with debutant southpaw Faiz Fazal took India home in just 21.5 overs. Rahul (63) looked in great touch as he struck 4 fours and 2 sixes. Faiz, who was making his debut, never looked nervous as he smashed 7 fours and a six for his 55 runs. He played some glorious shots through the covers. Zimbabwe bowlers, just like the previous matches, had nothing on the board to defend.

KL Rahul, playing his first ODI series, was declared Man of the series. Chahal was another youngster who impressed with 6 wickets in three matches while Faiz made use of only opportunity he got in the ODI series.

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