HARARE – A magnificent century from Sikandar Raza (pictured) wasn’t sufficient to get Zimbabwe to the 290 runs they needed for victory to avoid a whitewash by India in the final ODI of a three-match series at Harare Sports Club.

India managed 289-8 in 50 overs with Shubman Gill earlier on scoring a brilliant hundred of his own while Ishan Kishan (50) and Shikhar Dhawan (40) contributed.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers though took credit for keeping a tight rein on India to restrict the visitors to a gettable total, although Raza’s heroics wasn’t enough in the end to get his side over the line.

India pacer Shardul Thakur claimed the crucial wicket of Raza, in a turning point of the match, in the penultimate over. Gill took a stunning catch at long-on to remove the 36-year-old Zimbabwe talisman, who faced 95 balls and smashed 115 runs, including nine fours and three sixes.

Zimbabwe was then left on the ropes, eventually falling by 13 in the final over.

Fast bowler Avesh Khan took 3-66 with fellow pacer Deepak Chahar as well as spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Axa Patel grabbing a brace of wickets each.

Patel was full of praise for his teammates, opening bowler Chahar and man-of-the-series Gill.

“Chahar really bowled well throughout this series, he did very well for us,” Patel said.

“Gill batted brilliantly, he has been in very good form. He was also man-of-the-match against the West Indies recently. So this is the biggest take-away for us from this series.”

22-year-old Gill’s valiant 130 was crucial for India early on.

Right-hander Gill, who hit 15 fours and a six, struck the ball cleanly throughout his innings despite being dropped after reaching his century, working the ball into the gaps and clearing the boundary when bowlers missed their length.

The host’s new right-arm seamer Brad Evans wrote his own piece of history by becoming the third Zimbabwean bowler to take a five-for against India after Heath Streak and Eddo Brandes.

Evans bowled good length deliveries with admirable accuracy in only his fifth ODI, removing both openers KL Rahul (30) and Shikhar Dhawan (40) as well as Gill, Deepak Hooda (1) as well as Shardul Thakur on nine.

The 25-year-old bowling all-rounder is the son of former Zimbabwe batsman Craig Evans.

“Growing up, they (Streak and Brandes) were my dad’s good friends, so they are also my friends,” Evans said.

“So I learnt how they used to do it on the cricket field. So it’s amazing.”

Evans said the Zimbabwe side take something from the series despite the defeat.

“Although these guys are superstars, they also human,” Evans added. “If you bowl a good ball, you will get them out. I didn’t strain my line and length, I just had a simple plan. I think we are at par with them, the only difference is they contribute throughout while us guys it’s just three players. The day we all start to contribute, is the day we’ll start to win.”


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