India vs Zimbabwe: Five talking points after Men in Blue demolish hosts in first ODI – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

The Indian team was on a roll in the first match of the ODI series against Zimbabwe on Thursday in Harare. Riding on an exceptional bowling performance earlier and then a brilliant batting display from Shuman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan, the Men in Blue thumped the home side by 10 wickets after chasing down a target of 190 runs. While Dhawan remained unbeaten at 81 off 113, Gill struck a 72-ball 82* during the chase.

Let’s now take a look at some of the talking points from this first clash.

Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj provide perfect start

Deepak Chahar and skipper KL Rahul are the two players who have come into the series after having a long injury layoff. The focus was on these two players in this match as well and Chahar didn’t even disappoint.

He took a bit of time to get into the groove in the initial stage of the innings as India had opted to bowl first after winning the toss but once he found his control and rhythm, the right-arm bowler was all over the Zimbabwean top-order.

While he troubled the batters with swing, Chahar’s first wicket came of a short delivery to Innocent Kaia who tried to pull it through the on side but only managed to get an outside edge and the rest was done by Sanju Samson behind the stumps.

On the other side, Mohammed Siraj who had shared the ball with Chahar also troubled the batters with his pace and the duo reduced the hosts to 31/4 inside 11 overs.

Chahar added two more wickets to his tally during this time as he removed Marumani who edged a fuller delivery, away from him to Samson and trapped Madhevere in front of the stumps.

Siraj got the priced wicket of Sean Williams. The Zimbabwe batter was caught in the slips by Shikhar Dhawan after edging one while trying to push a length ball, outside off through the off-side.

Chahar eventually returned with figures of 3/27 in 7 overs and Siraj picked one wicket for 36 runs in 8 overs.

Axar Patel unleashes brilliance in middle-overs

After Chahar and Siraj had ripped through the Zimbabwe top-order, it was Axar Patel and Prasidh Krishna who got among the wickets. Both the bowlers scalped three-for each but it was Axar who bowled at a brilliant economy rate and kept the scoring-rate under control.

While he picked important wickets, the left-arm spinner didn’t let the batters cut loose either. Moreover, it was Axar’s line that was pretty impressive as he continuously bowled on to the stumps that didn’t really allow the batters to hit the strokes freely.

Prasidh too got some crucial wickets but he later ended up giving away 50 runs in the 8 overs that he bowled. Axar returned with figures of 3/24 in 7.3 overs.

Dhawan-Gill opening stand

The opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill has been making headlines in the recent past. The two batters have been scoring runs in bulk and they did the same in Harare.

The left-right batting duo of Dhawan and Gill stitched an unbeaten stand of 192 runs for the first wicket and anchored the side home by 10 wickets in this first encounter.

While Dhawan was the one who notched up a fifty early and had scored majority of runs initially, Gill too joined the party later and accelerated in the most fascinating way. The right-handed batter got his short-arm jab and pull into play and didn’t shy away from putting the bad deliveries to the boundary.

In fact, Gill ended the proceedings with a better strike-rate in comparison to that of Dhawan.

Plenty of openers-Who bats where?

The way Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill have fared in this game, the team management wouldn’t really be interested in tweaking the opening combination.

Now with Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul in the XI and Ruturaj Gaikwad in the squad, the think tank is surely left with a happy headache as far as accommodation is concerned.

Moreover, KL Rahul himself needs to spend some time at the crease, considering some big tournaments lined up after the series. If the team management decides to stick with the same combination at the top, then Rahul and Ishan might occupy the third and fourth spot or vice-versa.

Overall, it would be interesting to see who bats where in the remaining fixtures.

The dropped catch!

India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill dominated the Zimbabwe bowling thoroughly but there was one instance where the hosts could have had a wicket.

On the final ball of the 13th over Williams bowled a flighted delivery to Dhawan. The left-handed batter went for the sweep to the square leg region. The ball went straight to Evans stationed at that position who dropped it. It was no looking back for Dhawan or India from then on as the visitors cruised to the target in Harare.

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