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Mishra equalled Srinath’s record for most wickets taken during a bi-lateral ODI series
India recorded their first ODI whitewash away from home after thrashing Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the fifth and final ODI at Bulawayo.
Spinner Amit Mishra was the star of the show with six wickets to his name as he and Ambati Rayudu led India to victory.
India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The decision definitely seemed to be the right one as the Indian bowling attack absolutely ripped through Zimbabwe’s top order, removing their top four batsmen with just 45 runs on the board.
The middle order, with the exception of Sean Williams, fared no better as they just failed to find an answer to the Indian bowlers.
With Zimbabwe reeling at 72/5, Williams and Elton Chigumbura put together a 50-run partnership, during which Williams brought up his half-century, before Chigumbura was given out lbw to Mishra.
Williams did not last much longer after scoring his half-century as he was caught out for 51 off 65 balls, which included six boundaries, off the bowling of Mishra.
Tinotenda Mutombodzi scored a quickfire 16 off 14 deliveries, which included two sixes, and Kyle Jarvis added 12 runs off 12 balls, which included two boundaries, to carry Zimbabwe to a score of 163 before they were bowled out with more than 10 overs to spare.
Mishra was easily the pick of the Indian bowlers with six wickets, while Mohit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami all chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing a rather simple target of 164 to win, India found themselves in trouble from the fourth ball of their innings as opening batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was clean bowled by Jarvis.
However, a 55-run partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Rahane rectified the early damage inflicted by Zimbabwe before Dhawan became Jarvis’ second victim after scoring 41 runs.
Rahane and Jadeja continued piling on the runs as the pair recorded a 71-run partnership, during which Rahane registered his half-century, before being clean bowled by Malcolm Waller for exactly 50 runs off 66 balls, which included four boundaries and one maximum.
Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik finished off the proceedings in style, amassing a 41-run partnership at a run rate of 6.15 to help India get across the finish line with 16 overs to spare.
Jadeja finished unbeaten on 48 off 77 deliveries, which included four boundaries and two sixes.
Jarvis was the star of the Zimbabwe bowling attack as he picked up two wickets, while Waller snapped up the all-important wicket of Rahane.
Kohli was pleased to have captained India to their first ODI whitewash abroad and praised his team for all their hard work throughout the tour.
“To be honest, the first two games were pretty toughly fought out by Zimbabwe, but we stepped up in the next three,” he said. “It is all about making sure you win the series and then you can experiment. Duncan told me what to do with batting orders, most of these guys are going to South Africa, and who to give rest was decided by the coach. Belief, I guess [is the secret]. It has been a beautiful thing to be part of this team and now to lead it.
“It is all about making sure you win the series and then you can experiment. Duncan told me what to do with batting orders, most of these guys are going to South Africa, and who to give rest was decided by the coach. Belief, I guess [is the secret]. It has been a beautiful thing to be part of this team and now to lead it.”
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor was visibly disappointed about the series whitewash, but noted that his side would be looking to redeem themselves when Pakistan visit later this month.
“We have been outplayed by a very good team, not too many positives, we have been well below our best, it is tough to swallow, hopefully we can sit down with them, pick their brains, and hope to get better,” he said. “Pakistan are going to be tough, we can only play better cricket. Technically don’t think a lot of us could have done any better in the nets, mentally is the biggest issue, and getting partnerships. Grant Flower has put in so much work, disappointed with the batters, bowlers have held their head high. We will come out with a good attitude and determination against Pakistan.”
Mishra was named the Man of the Match for his six wickets and for tying former India pace bowler Javagal Srinath’s record for most wickets taken during a bi-lateral ODI series with 18.
“Feels good, have done lots of hard work, it has paid off now,” he said. “This wicket is a little slow, good for batsmen, but they did not read my googly. They [team management] always tell me to go for wickets.”