Touring India drew first blood in the first of their five-match One-Day International cricket series after beating Zimbabwe by six wickets at Harare Sports Club today.
Virat Kholi guided India home with well-constructed century as India chased a below-par score of 228 for the loss of seven wickets.
Indian skipper Kholi formed a 139-run third wicket partnership with Ambati Rayudu who finished unbeaten on 63, while the former’s 115-run knock was brought to an end by spinner Prosper Utseya who combined with Vusi Sibanda.
Utseya had the best figures for Zimbabwe with 2-34 from ten overs while Tino Mutombodzi struggled with an economy rate above eight in 7.5 overs.
Kholi showed his class reaching his total at a rate of less than a ball per run having faced 108 balls hitting 13 boundaries and a six.
Before that Zimbabwe had been given hope when Kyle Jarvis and Elton Chigumbura removed openers Shikar Dhawan (17) and Rohit Sharma (20) respectively.
Only for Kholi and Rayudu to come in and calm the Indian nerves and ensure that it was a comfortable win in the end.
Zimbabwe were sent in to bat after losing the toss and got off to a slow but steady start with the opening pair of Sibanda (34) and Raza Butt (82) putting 72 runs on the board before Sibanda was dismissed.
Butt batted on to hit his first half century but fell 18 runs short of his maiden century.
He hit six fours and heaved two over the fence in his 112 run knock.
There was little else as Zimbabwe struggled to form meaningful partnerships under pressure to ramp up a run rate that was below four owing to the slow accumulation at the beginning.
Elton Chigumbura’s late cameo of 43runs from 34 balls ensured Zimbabwe’s score rose to above 200 as he picked his spots and shots beautifully.
The all-rounder hit six fours and one six and looked in good knick to do better had he got more strike.