Clinical India whitewash Zimbabwe 3-0 in ODI series
India rode on a clinical all-round effort from the youngsters to trounce Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) and complete a 3-0 clean sweep of the African minnows here on Wednesday.
Chasing a paltry 124 at the Harare Sports Club, the men-in-blue rode on the new opening combination of Lokesh Rahul and debutant Faiz Fazal to romp home with 169 balls to spare and register their third successive whitewash after 2013 and 2015.
Rahul remained unbeaten on 63 off 70 deliveries while Fazal's maiden knock of 55 came off 61 balls as the right-left duo put on an unbeaten 126 runs.
It was a one way traffic during the chase as Rahul hammered four boundaries and two sixes while the 30-year-old Fazal struck seven fours and a six in his knock.
Rahul, who has been in prolific form since the Indian Premier League (IPL) where he played for runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), hit a century on debut in the opening game before scoring 33 in the second ODI. His efforts were recognised as he bagged the man-of-the-series award.
For the hosts, none of the bowlers looked threatening as the Indian duo kept on milking the runs to first raise the 50 in 76 balls before marching towards their maiden 100-run stand in 113 deliveries.
Earlier, medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah led from the front with four wickets as Indian bowlers made light work of the Zimbabwean batsmen to restrict them for a meagre 123 in 42.1 overs.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, the hosts lost six wickets within a span of just six runs to lose the plot completely against a disciplined Indian bowling line-up.
Senior batsman Vusi Sibanda once again got off to a good start scoring 38, while opener Chamu Chibhabha scored 27 as the rest of the batsmen crumbled under pressure.
Zimbabwe got off to a patient start as Chibhabha and Sibanda put on 36 runs for the second wicket before Sibanda paired up with Timycen Maruma (17) to raise 34 runs for the third wicket.
Comfortably placed at 104/3 by the 33rd over, Zimbabwe's innings once again hit the roadblock as Bumrah accounted for Maruma and Elton Chigumbura off consecutive deliveries before Malcolm Waller (8) perished to a silly run-out on the very first ball of the next over.
Zimbabwe's woes did not end there as left-arm spinner Axar Patel packed off skipper Graeme Cremer in the very next ball to reduce them to 104/7 and then wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami (4) and Tawanda Mupariwa (1) were soon back in the dressing room.
The last wicket duo of Neville Madziva (10) and Donald Tiripano (2) added 13 runs before medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni effected a run-out off his own follow-through to skittle out the hosts for 123.
For the visitors, apart from Bumrah's four-for, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took two scalps and Axar Patel and Dhawal Kulkarni chipped in with one wicket apiece.
India will now take on the hosts in a three-match Twenty20 International series at the same venue, starting on June 18.