Shubhman Gill’s valiant knock of 130 runs leads India to take over Zimbabwe by 13 runs in the 3rd and final ODI at Harare Sports Club, Monday. With the win, India clean swept the series 3-0. Unlike the 1st Two ODIs, the final one was unsettled until the end, with full of suspense. Sikandar Raza’s splendid Knock of 115 runs held the nerves of team India, but they finally ended up on the winning side.
After being elected to bat, India showcased better batting with openers Shikhar Dhawan (40) and K. L. Rahul (30). But they failed to convert their starts to runs as per the expectations of fans. It was Shubhman Gill who came again to rescue the team. With the partnership of Ishan Kishan, Gill scored his first ODI century at Harare with 130 runs out of 97 balls. The 22-year-old right-hander was very stiff to score runs, hitting 15 fours and a six in an innings, that displayed class.
Shubhman Gill’s unprecedented efforts helped him break the record of the legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar’s 24-year-old record of an unbeaten 127 in Bulawayo in 1998 was broken by Gill at Harare. He also grabbed an amazing catch of Sikandar Raza, who was threatening to give the home side a shocking victory.
With his maiden elusive international hundred and exceptional performance in the series, Shubhman Gill was awarded the Player-of-the-match and Player-of-the-series award. He has scored a total of 245 runs from the 3 ODIs.
Shubhman Gill says he was just trying not to play a lot of dots and just trying to time the ball in the match. “Always special to get a hundred, I had made three nineties but I wanted to get a century. This one is for my dad as he has been my primary coach. I got a bit of schooling day before yesterday when I was out on 33. So, this is for him. It’s a great bunch of players and I have been playing with them for some time now”, he added.
Ishan Kishan also scored a half-century out of 61 balls. Sanju Samson’s efforts went in vain as he goes out for 15. K. L. Rahul had an ideal opportunity to get back on the track before Asia Cup. But he fell to Brad Evans, who chased down five wickets for Zimbabwe for the first time. At last, India reached 289 for 8 in 50 overs.
The 3-0 knockdown was the first series win for skipper K. L. Rahul, who made a comeback after a long injury layoff. During the post-match presentation, Rahul said that “Fielded about 120 overs, got some time out in the middle with the bat. I am tired of coming back after a couple of months. But this is what we all want to do, playing for India,”.
Zimbabwe’s bowling line-up was improved a lot in the 3rd ODI, restricting the experienced batters to lesser scores. Brad Evans’ 5 wicket haul for Zimbabwe was an exceptional one along with Victor Nyauchi and Luke Jongwe’s single wickets.
In return, Zimbabwe seemed down and out when they lost their 7th wicket and at that stage, India felt this would be defended easily. It seemed all done when Zimbabwe were 169 for 7. But Sikandar Raza has other plans. He gave India a real scare with his 115 runs out of 95 balls. He just wanted someone to stay with him and Evans did that. This pair added over 100 runs with Raza scoring a hundred. They needed just around 9 runs per over in the last 10 overs and they managed to score at that rate. At one stage, Zimbabwe needed 17 runs from 13 balls and it seemed they would take over the game. But both Evans and Raza fell quickly and the last two could not do a lot.
It was a hard-fought win for India as Zimbabwe ended the game in 276 runs. Sikandar Raza was just magical with the bat and Zimbabwe fought really hard in the match. They can be proud of the way they have competed for the match even though India white-washed the series.
Now, team India will move on to Asia Cup and they will face Pakistan in the first match of the tournament on 28th August at 7.30 pm. On the other hand, Zimbabwe will travel to Australia for a three-match ODI series. Their 1st match will also be on 28th August at 5.10 am.
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