A disciplined India notched up a convincing seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the third One-day International to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series here on Sunday.
Amit Mishra scalped four for 47 and skipper Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 88-ball 68 to emerge as star performers as they guided the visitors to their third straight victory.
Mishra led a disciplined show by the bowlers as they dismissed Zimbabwe for 183 in just 46 overs after Kohli decided to bowl.
The visitors overhauled the target in 35.3 overs, riding on Kohli’s fifty and useful contributions from Shikhar Dhawan (35), Ambati Rayudu (33) and Suresh Raina (28 not out).
Kohli, who had scored a match-winning 115 in the first ODI, once again led from the front as he starred in three useful partnerships.Rohit fails again
Chasing 184 to win, openers Rohit Sharma (14) and Dhawan made a watchful start as pacers Brian Vitori and Michael Chinouya bowled in tandem. Rohit’s poor run continued as he was fell to debutant Chinouya, chasing a widish length delivery only to edge it wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor.
Dhawan didn’t allow Rohit’s wicket to affect the run flow and played some delightful shots off Vitori, Utseya and others. His stay was cut short by Chatara in the 15th over when trying to hit a length delivery off the front foot, Dhawan ended up hitting it straight to Sibanda at shortish cover.
Runs dried up after that as Kohli and new man Rayudu (33) tried to steady the ship, picking up ones and twos. In the 22nd over, Rayudu picked up a much-needed boundary when his thick edge off Utseya went flying past slip. In the next over, Elton Chigumbura was introduced into the attack and Rayudu and Kohli hit him for two fours.
After the end of 29 overs, India took their batting powerplay but Rayudu lost his wicket when he chipped a pitched up delivery from Vitori straight to the bowler. His 54-ball innings had two fours.
In the 32nd over, Kohli sent Chinouya sailing over deep square leg for a boundary, while new man Suresh Raina found the midwicket boundary in the next over.
Kohli brought up his fifty in the 34th over with a brilliant drive off the front foot and three balls later, the India skipper danced down the wicket and smashed Chinouya over wide long off for the first six of Indian innings.
In the next over, Kohli and Raina picked up a couple of fours as India inched towards the win. It was Raina, who blasted a four off Chatara to bring up the final runs.
Earlier, Mishra was well supported by Mohammed Shami (two for 25), Jaydev Unadkat (one for 24), Ravindra Jadeja (one for 39) and Vinay Kumar (one for 32) as the host was restricted to 183. Sean Williams top-scored for Zimbabwe with 45.
Kohli's decision to bowl was vindicated as his pacers struck twice in the first two overs to remove the openers. Hamilton Masakadza (38) and skipper Brendan Taylor (23) added 65 runs for the third wicket to stabilise the innings before Unadkat struck with the scoreboard reading 67.
The Zimbabwean captain, who stood his ground after Shami leapt to his left from mid-off to pull off a catch, walked back after the third umpire upheld the on-field umpires’ decision.
Taylor hit three fours during his 44-ball knock. — PTI