London, July 12: India secured the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe on Sunday after outperforming their African rivals in the second one-day international by 62 runs at Harare, thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s impressive spell and an initial obdurate opening partnership.
Put in to bat first, India steadily built the innings at a slow pace as stand-in-captain Ajinkya Rahane (63) and Murali Vijay shared a strong 112-run partnership for the opening wicket before the dismissal of the former.
While Player of the Match Vijay scored 72, Ambati Rayadu added 41 runs on a slow Harare surface. Manoj Tiwary (22) and Stuart Binny (25) were the other notable batsmen to give slender contribution as others struggled to keep the momentum going before setting a 272-run target for the hosts within their allotted 50 overs.
Neville Madziva was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as he returned the figures of 4-49.
In reply, Zimbabwe were bundled out for 209 in the 49th over. Opener Chamu Chibhabha scored 72 to remain as the top scorer for his side. Bhuvneshwar spearheaded the bowling line up as he claimed four wickets to give the tourists an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane credited his spinners for exploiting the slow pitch to the optimum as India sealed the three-match series against Zimbabwe with a comfortable 62-run win in the second ODI.
Rahane said after the match: “Wicket was slow early on but got even slower in second innings. We have a good experienced attack with quality spinners who did the job for us. It wasn’t easy for batting but we bowled well. Our bowlers were up to the mark, they bowled in right areas and fielding was right up there.”
Asked if he felt India targetted to go past 300, Rahane said, “We were looking for 280-290 but we batted pretty well and partnership between me and (Murali) Vijay was crucial and later Vijay’s with Rayudu.”
He said: “It was a great opportunity for me to prove myself. I wasn’t getting my flow right but still helped in the opening partnership. The wicket was much better today, a bit on the slower side but we adjusted to it.”
(With Agency Inputs)