Expectations, possibilities or risks; call it whatever you will, Zimbabwe have bene defeated in the last ODI, too, by the world champions India, who have lifted the series 5-0 under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. Because of a lot of fresh blood in the Indian team and the fact that Zimbabwe were playing at home, it was expected that the hosts would carve out at least one upset win. But India whitewashed them, beating them also in the last match with a heavy margin of 7 wickets.
The key player of the Indian victory was Amit Mishra, who claimed six wickets in the match, which helped him equal Javagal Srinath’s world record of the 18 wickets in a series. His performance restricted Zimbabwe, who India put into bat after winning the toss, to 163 runs.
Half of Zimbabwe’s team was back to the pavilion on just 72 and India had laid the foundations of victory even before the first innings was completed. Unfortunately, captain Brendan Taylor failed once again and was dismissed for a duck after facing 11 balls. Hamilton Masakadza was only among the top-order batsmen who played a respectable innings of 32.
Sean Williams and Elton Chigumbura added 50 runs in the sixth wicket until Mishra sent them packing in two back-to-back overs along with Tinotenda Mutombodzi. Brian Vitori tried to put up a resistance but Mishra dismissed them too and ended the hosts’ innings on 163. Williams was the top-scorer for Zimbabwe with 51 off 65.
Mishra took 6 wickets for 48 runs in 8.5 overs. Mohit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami all took one wicket each.
India’s start in the chase of a low total was not good as they lost their first batsman – Cheteshwar Pujara – in the first over. But then Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane took the score to 55 until Dhawan lost his wicket to Kyle Jarvis after scoring 41 off 38 with the help of 6 fours and 1 six. Ravindra Jadeja and Rahane added 71 runs in the third wicket, taking the score to 126. Rahane was dismissed after completing his half-century. Later India chased the target in the 34th over . Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik remained not out on 48 and 10, respectively.
Mishra earned the player-of-the-match award for his outstanding bowling.
After their return to home, India will start preparations to host Australia and South Africa, whereas Zimbabwe will get themselves ready to face Pakistan, who will leave for Zimbabwe at this month’s end.