India narrowly escaped defeat in the hands of hosts Zimbabwe, as the visitors clinched the match just by 4 runs.
A valiant batting effort form the Zimbabwean skipper Elton Chigumbura (104*) almost put the match in their favor but thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fantastic last over turned the result otherwise. Zimbabwe needed 10 runs in the final over but Bhuvi bowled brilliantly, conceding only 5. He kept his deliveries right in the block hole which Chigumbura found it hard to negotiate with.
Earlier in the Indian innings, Ambati Rayadu scored his career best (124*) to bail out India of a top-order collapse. Along with Stuart Binny(77), they put up a 160 run partnership for the 6th wicket and helped India to reach a challenging total of 255/6 from 87/5. The entire top order, Ajinkya Rahane(34), Murali Vijay(1), Manoj Tiwary(2), Robin Uthappa(0) and Kedar Jhadav(5) failed to make any contribution to the board and all fell victims to the rival bowlers.
When put to bowl, both the pacers, Bhuvneshwar(1/35) and Dhawal Kulkarni(1/60) bowled bravely, accompanied by the medium pace of Binny(2/52). The spin duo of Harbhajan Singh(1/46), who made a comeback to the ODI squad and Axar Patel(2/41) complemented the fast bowlers. They kept taking wickets at crucial points which kept India afloat in the match.
Initially in the match, Zimbabwe failed to capitalize the momentum which their bowlers provided. They got India in neck tight position but a gallant show from Rayadu and Binny stopped them from toppling over India.
Zimbabwe could have pulled off an amazing victory, if their skipper Elton Chigumbura would have got some support from the other end. The last few overs of the match were quite tense and could have gone either way. Rahane should be grateful to his pacers, especially Kumar and Kulkarni, who bowled really well under pressure and rescued his captaincy career to begin with a loss.