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India vs Zimbabwe 1st ODI: Rating the Indian cricketers

Rating the Indian players who featured in the 1st ODI between India and Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club, which India won by 9 wickets.

KL Rahul India vs Zimbabwe
KL Rahul scored an unbeaten hundred on ODI debut to guide India to victory against Zimbabwe

Riding on KL Rahul’s unbeaten ODI hundred on debut, India defeated Zimbabwe quite comprehensively by 9 wickets in the 1st ODI of the three-match series at the Harare Sports Club. Chasing a paltry total of 169 for victory, Rahul along with Ambati Rayudu put up an unbeaten 162-run partnership to take India out of scary waters – especially after they had lost Karun Nair for 7 very early in the innings – and take the team home with more than 7 overs to spare. Rahul finished unbeaten on 100 while Rayudu returned not out with 62 runs to his name. Earlier in the day, Jasprit Bumrah’s career-best figures of 4/28 coupled with 2-wickets each taken by Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Sran, and an impressive debut by Yuzvendra Chahal meant that Zimbabwe were bundled out for 168 in 49.5 overs.

It was a dominant performance by the Indian cricketers, who excelled with both bat and ball and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. India are slated to play three T20I as well apart from the remaining two ODIs, with all matches scheduled to take place at the Harare Sports Club. Here is how the Indian players fared in their first outing in an ODI since January 2016.

1. KL Rahul : 9/10

It was a dream debut for one of the three debutants who featured in the game today, as KL Rahul became the first Indian batsman to score a century on ODI debut. He also became the 1st batsman to score a century in the first innings as an opener on both Test and ODI debuts. Batting on a relatively difficult surface, Rahul showed the composure of the topmost order, as he remained unfettered by the early loss of his opening partner Karun Nair’s wicket, and carried the innings forward steadily. He upped the ante towards the latter half of his innings and accelerated the scoring rate along with Rayudu. The Karnataka batsman hit 7 boundaries and 1 six during his innings.

2. Karun Nair : 5/10

Karun Nair, however, did not have the best of debuts today, as he was dismissed for 7 very early in the Indian innings after looking good during the first few minutes that he spent at the crease.

3. Ambati Rayudu : 7.5/10

Ambati Rayudu played a solid knock as well on his return to the national colours in ODI cricket, as he played a firm support role to Rahul, scoring a slow but steady half century, that was studded with 5 boundaries. He took 120 balls for his unbeaten 62. He was troubled for a couple of overs by Chamu Chibhabha, but barring that, Rayudu’s stay at the crease was solid and he played the role of the sheet anchor to perfection.

4. Manish Pandey : N.A.

Manish Pandey didn’t bat today and didn’t do something exceptional in the field as well. Hence, there is no substance to really rate him on.

5. Kedar Jadhav : N.A. 

Kedar Jadhav didn’t get an opportunity to bat in the game and was decent in the outfield.

6. MS Dhoni : 8/10

The captain of the Indian ODI team, who was given the responsibility of marshalling a group of young men, did it to perfection in his first assignment, as he utilised his bowlers efficiently, and made sure that the Zimbabwean batsmen were never let off the leash. Barinder Sran and Dhawal Kulkarni gave him a good start by picking up early wickets, and Dhoni made full use of this early success by deploying the spinners in tandem during the middle overs, who in turn, squeezed the Zimbabwean innings and crumbled their scoring rate. Dhoni’s excellent man management skills were on display in this game.

7. Axar Patel : 8/10

The left-arm spinner did exceedingly well on his team India return and bowled economically throughout his spell, conceding just 26 runs from his 10 overs and picked up one wicket, bowling one maiden over as well in the process. Brought on to bowl in the 13th over, Axar maintained tight lines and lengths and never gave the batsmen any kind of room to play with. He was rewarded for his patience with the ball in the 24th over when Craig Ervine holed out to Faiz Fazal (sub) in the deep in an attempt to launch Axar over long on.

8. Yuzvendra Chahal : 8.5/10

The RCB leg-spinner, who made a name for himself during the past two seasons of the IPL, did not disappoint on his ODI debut either, as he bowled with guile, flight and control to limit the Zimbabwean batsmen and exert pressure on them. Although he created many close chances throughout the spell, he had to wait till his last over to get his 1st ODI wicket, when Richmond Mutumbami perished, trying to hit the big shot, being taken by KL Rahul at deep midwicket. His googlies often bamboozled the batsmen and his sharp leg-breaks with the bounce that the surface offered were unplayable at times.

9. Dhawal Kulkarni : 7.5/10

Dhawal Kulkarni was expected to lead the young Indian bowling attack – as he was the most experienced in the lot –  when the Indian squad was announced, and he did that to some success today, as he provided India with an early breakthrough and picked up a wicket at the death as well. Bowling tight lines and lengths and with some genuine movement that the pitch had to offer, Kulkarni struck for the first time in the 9th over, getting Hamilton Masakadza caught behind on a delivery that pitched in the off stump channel and moved away off the surface. The Mumbaikar then returned in the 47th over to clean up the stumps of the Zimbabwean captain, Graeme Cremer.

10. Barinder Sran : 7/10

Continuing from where he had left off during the IPL, playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Barinder Sran made the full use of the new ball given to him, as he struck in his first over itself, trapping Peter Moor leg-before-wicket in the 2nd over of the match. The Punjab-born speedster bowled terrific lines and also varied his pace and the lengths to keep the batsmen on the hooks throughout his spell. He returned in the 38th over to knock Sikandar Raza’s stumps to get his 2nd wicket. However, throughout his spell, he also had problems with his line, and in the pursuit of varying it on a regular basis, he strayed in line as well and bowled 6 wides.

11. Jasprit Bumrah : 7.5/10

Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the Indian bowlers, as he returned with career-best figures of 4/28 in 9.5 overs. Brought into the attack in the 11th over, Bumrah struck almost immediately, as he cleaned up Chamu Chibhabha in the 14th over. Bumrah doubled up his wickets column 6 overs later when he got Vusi Sibanda caught behind to push Zimbabwe on the back foot in the first half of their innings. The fast bowler then returned at the death and picked up two more wickets, that of Elton Chigumbura and Tendai Chatara. However, he had a problem with his footing and landing today as he overstepped thrice and was very close to doing the same on several occasions. He bowled 6 wides and 3 no balls – one of which saw Chigumbura getting caught at deep midwicket by Axar Patel in the 48th over. Bumrah would look to rein in his lines as well as control his landing in the ODIs to follow.

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