Zimbabwe came extremely close to upsetting India but fell just 13 runs short of the target in the 3rd ODI. Sikandar Raza was the lone man fighting till the end and notched up his sixth ODI hundred, but he didn’t get the desired support. Shubman Gill starred for India when he hit his maiden international hundred and batted as if he was batting on a different surface. After a few tense moments, India’s bowlers and fielders eventually helped the team complete a 3-0 whitewash. The series will also bring a huge relief to India’s stand-in skipper, KL Rahul, who lost his previous series 0-3 against South Africa. We look back at some of the stats and top moments from the final match of India’s tour of Zimbabwe.
Shubman’s sublime hundred
After coming agonisingly close to the three-figure score in the past, Gill finally registered his first international century for India. The inning was not only his personal best but the best of the match and the series by some distance.
Of all the Indian batters who batted at least 15 balls, no one scored at a strike rate of more than 82. Gill’s 130 came at 134.02. His hundred came off just 82 balls, striking at 121.95. His inning was the sole reason for some momentum throughout the Indian inning. He was in total control during the entirety of his knock. Gill’s control percentage in his career-best international inning was 94%, which means he was almost never troubled by the Zimbabwe bowlers.
His inning not only helped him earn a ‘Player of the Match’ award, but his 245 runs in this series at a strike rate of 120.68 were enough for him to win his first ‘Player of the Series’ award in international cricket.
Brad Evans’ splendid spell
The morning conditions in a day game usually provide some assistance to the pace bowlers. Brad Evans was introduced in the 11th over when the early help was somewhat reduced. But that didn’t bother Evans as he focused on his length and subtle variations to trouble the Indian batters. Four of his five wickets came off the balls pitched in the good length, with the line being close to the stumps.
Playing just his fifth ODI, Evans picked up his first-ever five-wicket haul in List A cricket. His figures of 5/54 are the seventh-best bowling figures by a Zimbabwe bowler in this century. They are also the third-best figures against India by any bowler from his country. If this historic bowling spell wasn’t enough, Evans also chipped in with the bat. His 36-ball 28 in a 104-run partnership with Raza provided much-needed support to the senior batter in trying to chase the target.
Sikandar Raza – The chase master
Raza was going to be Zimbabwe’s biggest hope to chase the total, and he batted the same way. His sixth ODI century, a 95-ball 105, might not have won his team the match, but it surely enhanced his already stellar reputation as a chase master for Zimbabwe.
This was Raza’s fourth ODI hundred in a run chase, with three of them coming this year. Before this match, all three of his centuries in the second innings came in a winning cause. In six run-chases this year, Raza has scored three centuries at an average of 108.75 and a strike rate of 104.81. This inning against India again proved why Raza is the most important player for Zimbabwe in run chases.
India completed a 3-0 whitewash of Zimbabwe. After the one-sided first two matches, the hosts showed great courage while chasing a target of 290 runs. They fell short by just 13 runs, but by now, they would have identified that chasing is their best bet at winning ODI matches. For India, the form of Gill and Axar Patel would be a great takeaway, but they end the series with some of their first-choice players still struggling for rhythm and fluency.