India vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI Match Prediction: How will the third ODI shape up at Harare?
Even an eternal optimist will find it hard to back Zimbabwe when they meet India on Wednesday for the third and final ODI at Harare. The series has already been decided in India’s favour which makes this ODI a dead rubber and gives both sides the option to try out different things.
Makhaya Ntini, the animated Zimbabwe coach, would like to shake up his beleaguered team and inspire them to play to their potential. The players too must continue to believe that they can beat a second string Indian side in their very own backyard.
Zimbabwe would be well served if their players pay extra attention to shot selection. For instance, Vusi Sibanda's extravagant shot was surely not on when his side had just lost a couple of quick wickets in the middle overs. A well-settled batsman should take up the mantle of batting through to the end of the innings rather than leave it for others.
Zimbabwe would know even their staunchest of supporters are running out of patience and it's high time the players show some semblance of a fight in this final ODI.
Graeme Cremer would love to be “third time lucky” when the coin goes up on Wednesday morning. He has lost the toss previously on both the occasions and would desperately pray for a reversal of fortune. If Zimbabwe field first, equilibrium could be restored a wee bit and it will be better for the game. If Dhoni wins the toss and inserts the opposition in, we could be in for yet another dull and lopsided contest.
Venue: Harare Sports Club, Harare
Match date: June 15, 2016
Match timings: 1230 Hrs IST
If Zimbabwe bat first
Predicted score: 200 or below
Expect some fight and application this time around from the Zimbabweans if they are put into bat yet again. One can also expect a rejig in the batting order of the hosts. The experienced Hamilton Masakadza will open the innings with Chamu Chibhabha. Masakadza would love to play an innings of substance and he would know that his presence in the middle can keep the Indian bowlers at bay.
Peter Moor has looked completely out of sorts in this series and he could well make way for Craig Ervine or Sikandar Raza, who was painstakingly slow in the 2nd ODI, to bat at number 3. Vusi Sibanda showed good form and stroked his way to a lovely half century before playing a rash shot on a Yuzvendra Chahal delivery.
Elton Chigumbura and Richmond Mutumbami need to do more in the lower middle order and take the onus upon themselves to take Zimbabwe to a score of 225 and above.
The bowling has been a shade better than their batting but there is nothing much to hold on to. Chatara and Muzarabani have been average with the new ball and have failed to pick early wickets. Donal Tiripano could get a look in for this game.
Chamu Chibhabha has been economical and he would like to reprise his role here and keep it tight. Graeme Crèmer needs to inspire his troops and a quality spell from the leg-spinner could boost the sagging morale of his team.
If India bat first
Predicted score: 270 and above
India should look to hand out debuts to Faiz Fazal or Mandeep Singh at the top of the order. This could mean resting KL Rahul for this game. Karun Nair played himself into some sort of form in the last game but he will be gutted with himself after he was dismissed on the doorstep of victory.
Nair, a prolific scorer in the domestic circuit, would love to get a big score in the third ODI and impress the selectors.
If Rayudu is given a break, expect Manish Pandey to bat at no. 3. Pandey would want to spend some quality time on the wicket he made his ODI debut on. Other batters have not played a single ball yet in this series, thanks to some insipid cricket from the opposition. The likes of Dhoni and Kedhar Jadhav could be tested if the Zimbabweans somehow manage to pick up a couple of early wickets.
On the bowling front, Jaydev Unadkat could be roped in for this game and one of the quicker men can be rested. The Indian bowling has looked menacing as the ball has seamed around consistently for them. It seems the likes of Bumrah, Kulkarni, and Sran are enjoying these conditions away from home and would love to carry this strip with them wherever they go.
Not just the seamers, even the Indian spinners have managed to impress in the last couple of games. Especially, Yuzvendra Chahal who was instrumental in triggering the Zimbabwean collapse by picking up three quick wickets in the last game. The Haryana leggie was adjudged the Man of the match for his efforts.
It will be interesting to see whether the team management tries the off-spinner Jayant Yadav for this game. It should be a walk in the park for the Indians if the last couple of games are anything to go by. However, cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and Zimbabwe will try their best to upset the apple cart of the Indians.
Probable winner: India