Regis Chakabva praised his team’s efforts in a final ODI they could have won while congratulating India for managing to edge them out in a tight competition. He then highlighted the outstanding performance of the game and expressed his optimism for their upcoming tour of Australia.
India had to channel all their experience in the closing stages of the third and final ODI at Harare Sports Club on Monday to ensure they held the hosts at bay en route to a thrilling 13-point victory. The performance means the visitors have once again swept Zimbabwe in an ODI series, claiming their 14th straight triumph in the format against the African side.
After setting a lofty target of 290, Indian bowlers seemed to be on the right track from the start but failed to make the breakthroughs they had in the first two games. Once Sikandar Raza got to the crease at number five, the complexion of the game changed completely as the bowling attack had no response to his calculated onslaught. The veteran then recorded his third century ODI just this month, finishing with a brilliant 115 from just 95 deliveries. The majority of his shots came in a 104-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Brad Evans, who served his assistant role well with 28 competent deliveries out of 36. In the end, that wasn’t enough as both lost their wickets in successive overs in the death, causing Zimbabwe to be left with three balls to spare.
“First of all congratulations to India, I think they played well. India kept their nerves even though Sikandar and Evans gave us the chance,” Zimbabwe skipper Regis Chakabva said during the post-match presentation according to ESPN Cricinfo.
Earlier, Evans was also the one to get the hosts back in the game with the ball, picking up wickets from four of India’s top five strikers, including centurion Shubman Gill. At one point India looked to be heading well past 300 but the pacer’s flurry of wickets saw the opposition crumble as they recorded their first ODI five-wicket run in just their fifth game .
“Huge positives today from bowling. The boys fought really hard on the pitch. We’re talking about coming back from tough situations and Raza was brilliant.”
The fighting spirit bodes well for Zimbabwe, who are now set to face Australia in a three-game ODI series starting on Sunday, with all matches to be played in Queensland.
“We certainly take a lot of positives and look at those things below,” Chakabva concluded.
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