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India cruise to easy 9 wicket win against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo

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India maintained their 100% record in Zimbabwe this summer with a comfortable 9 wicket win against the hosts at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Thursday. India produced an exemplary performance in the field to knock over the hosts for just 144. The wickets were shared around by the Indian bowlers with the spinners - Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja - picking up 5 wickets between them after the seamers made early in roads. India's batsmen then knocked off the runs inside 31 overs with Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina scoring a pair of well crafted 60s in what was yet another easy outing for Virat Kohli's men.

India won the toss in the fourth ODI of the series as the action shifted from Harare to Bulawayo for the last two ODIs of the summer. On what looked like a flat batting track, the visitors opted to make use of whatever freshness there was on the surface and put Zimbabwe in.

India made two changes to their side for this game with Shikhar Dhawan getting a well earned rest to give Cheteshwar Pujara a game, while Mohit Sharma also came in to make his ODI debut for the out of form R Vinay Kumar, who according to skipper Virat Kohli was nursing a groin injury. Zimbabwe were unsurprisingly unchanged.

Mohit Sharma, was excellent on debut, getting the ball to dart around and was quickly rewarded with the wicket of Sikandar Raza for 7, caught behind off a gentle outswinger. The Chennai Super Kings medium pacer made an excellent case for being included in the starting line-up ahead of Vinay Kumar as he kept the runs down as well, bowling 3 maidens, eventually finishing with figures of 2-26 from his 10 overs, getting the crucial wicket of Malcolm Waller for 35 late on to break an 80 run partnership between Waller and Elton Chigumbura (50*) for the 6th wicket.

Hamilton Masakadza was run out for 10 thanks to a direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja, who then accounted for Vusi Sibanda (25) and Brendan Taylor (0) with his left arm spin. In between those two dismissals, Jaidev Unadkt bowled Sean Williams also for naught to leave Zimbabwe in deep trouble at 47-5.

Chigumbura played an excellent unbeaten hand to give Zimbabwe slender hope, and while he and Waller were together, there was reason to believe the hosts might get close to 200, but the latter's dismissal opened the door for Amit Mishra to run through the tail, and the Zimbabwe bowlers had no answer to the guile of the leg spinner as he picked up 3 wickets for 25.

Zimbabwe failed to bat out their 50 overs, and were bowled out for just 144 in the 43rd over, leaving India with a simple task to extend their advantage in the series.

Pujara's debut was not quite as successful as Sharma's, and after an ordinary outing in the field for the Saurashtra batsman, he fell for just 13 at the top of the order, bowled by Tendai Chatara.

A struggling for runs Suresh Raina, whose place in the side was coming under threat, was pushed up the order to no.3, and the left-hander responded to the opportunity by sharing in a match winning stand with Rohit Sharma. While Sharma opted for the slow and steady approach to batting, and got to his half-century in 84 balls, Raina was a bit more adventurous and reached his landmark in the same over, from 60 deliveries.

With the game in the bag, both batsmen went on the attack and wrapped up the match as early as the 31st over to earn them an extended evening off. Raina ended unbeaten on a much needed 65, while Sharma was just a run behind him with 64 to his name as India romped to an easy 9 wicket win.

The two teams have a day off before doing battle one last time at the same venue in the 5th and final ODI of the summer on Saturday.


India :  Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jaidev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami.

Zimbabwe : Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendon Taylor (c&wk), Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Brain Vitori, Tendai Chatara.

Mini Scorecard:

Zimbabwe 144 all out (42.4 overs, 3.37rpo)

E Chigumbura 50* (66) A Mishra 3-25

A Waller 35 (77) M Sharma 2-26

India 145-1 (30.5 overs, 4.70rpo)

S Raina 65* (71) T Chatara 1-31

R Sharma 64* (90)

India win by 9 wickets