Harare: India will aim at another easy victory against Zimbabwe in the second One-Day game here on Monday that will enable them clinch the three-match series.
The young Indian team, comprising largely of newcomers, gave a good account of themselves in the first match, winning by nine wickets with 45 balls to spare on Saturday.
India were dominant from the very beginning against a weak Zimbabwe side. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah picked up four wickets as the hosts were dismissed for a paltry 168.
Then it was opener Lokesh Rahul who made his debut special with an unbeaten 100.
Rahul will be hoping to score heavily in the series to boost his self-esteem before taking the flight to the West Indies for a Test series in August.
Not only Rahul, Ambati Rayudu also was among runs, striking a patient unbeaten 62.
India’s all-round performance would have gladdened skipper M.S. Dhoni after the selectors picked a rookie squad for the series.
Not only Bumrah, India’s other bowlers also performed impressively.
Pacers Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Sran got two wickets each. Spinners Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahala also claimed one each.
Dismissing the hapless Zimbabweans for 168 was half the job done. The victory was never in doubt after that.
Given the status and quality of the opposition, the Indian management could provide opportunities to those who didn’t get an opportunity in the first match.
The middle-order batsmen, like Manish Pandey among others, are expected to perform well and raise their profile in the eyes of the national selectors for a permanent place in the squad when at full strength.
The only aspect worth being curious about, apart from individual performances, will be the final 11 for the Indian side. The focus will be on Dhoni whether he will choose to play the same team or provide opportunity to those who sat out the first match.
India have earlier beaten Zimbabwe 3-0 in 2015 and are heavily favoured for another whitewash performance.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Axar Patel.
Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer (captain), Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Peter Moor, Twanada Mupariwa, Richard Mutumbami (wicketkeeper), Taurai Muzarabani, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams.