Match Preview – Zimbabwe vs India, India in Zimbabwe 2022, 1st ODI

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The last time India toured Zimbabwe they went with a captain who had won a T20 World Cup, a 50-over World Cup and a Champions Trophy title. That was not a full Indian side. This isn’t one either. But this Indian team is led by one of their seven captains of recent times.

KL Rahul is back in action after a lengthy hiatus including surgery for a sports hernia and a positive Covid-19 test. What might put Rahul at ease is that Zimbabwe is where he hit a century in his ODI debut, finishing as the top scorer when India defeated Zimbabwe 3-0 in 2016.

India is without some of their top players and it is arguably Zimbabwe’s best chance in ages to topple a team ten places above them in the ICC rankings. Although Zimbabwe itself is also exhausted – due to injuries – they are coming in after fantastic series wins in both white ball formats against Bangladesh. They would like to build on that form to take some World Cup Super League points, where they are currently 12th, to gain more confidence before flying to Australia for ODIs and the T20 World Cup.

Against Bangladesh, they chased a total of 304 and 291 in consecutive games, Sikandar Raza scoring centuries in both games, Innocent Kaia in the first and captain Regis Chakabva in the second. But Zimbabwe’s top ranking – which fell to scores of 62 for 3, 27 for 3 and 18 for 3 in those three matches – will have to find better answers against India’s bowling. Against the Indian bowlers, the ‘fearless brand of cricket’ will be tested more than when they played against Bangladesh.

Shape guide

Zimbabwe LWWLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
India WWWWL

In the spotlight

In addition to keeping an eye on Rahul, the team management monitors the progress of Deepak Chahar narrow. Once India’s most important new ball bowler in T20Is, Chahar returns to the field after a long time [since February] resigned due to injury. He has fallen back in the pecking order for the T20 World Cup, at least according to the Asia Cup squads, where he is in the reserves. A different format, but these games will be an audition for Chahar ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Raza took the Player-of-the-Series award for the ODIs against Bangladesh, but the “unsung hero” he said was Luke Jongwe. He didn’t take too many wickets, but went bowling in difficult situations after the morning damp dried up in batting-friendly conditions, drying runs for Bangladesh in the middle and death overs. How he stacks up against India’s middle class and finishers could be key for Zimbabwe.

Team news

Rahul batted in middle order the last time he played ODIs, but he is one of India’s frontrunners for an opening slot at the T20 World Cup. Will management open with him to give him some training at the top or will they keep beating him in the middle? Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill opened for India in the ODIs in the Caribbean and they could continue there if Rahul is placed lower. Without Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer in the squad, Rahul will of course come in and Ruturaj Gaikwad could make his ODI debut at some point in the series.

India: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 4 KL Rahul (capt), 5 Sanju Samson/Ishan Kishan (wk), 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Shardul Thakur/Deepak Chahar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Prasidh Krishna/Avesh Khan

Zimbabwe will be left without some of their key players, who are injured, such as Craig Ervine (hamstring), Wellington Masakadza (shoulder), Blessing Muzarabani (thigh muscle tear) and Tendai Chatara (collarbone fracture). But as a boost to them, Sean Williams is back after missing the previous series in Bangladesh to “do some personal business”. give them another chance.

Zimbabwe (probably): 1 Takudzwanashe Kaitano, 2 Tadiwanashe Marumani, 3 Innocent Kaia, 4 Wessly Madhevere/Sean Williams, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Regis Chakabva (capt, week), 7 Ryan Burl/Tony Munyonga, 8 Luke Jongwe, 9 Brad Evans , 10 Victor Nyauchi, 11 Tanaka Chivanga

Location and conditions

The Harare Sports Club had hit-friendly pitches in all three games against Bangladesh, but with something for the fast bowlers in the morning due to the early start. Thursday is expected to be sunny and pleasant with a maximum temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.

Statistics and trivia

  • Of the current Indian squad, Rahul made his ODI debut in Zimbabwe. In addition to him, Sanju Samson and Axar Patel also made their T20I debut in Zimbabwe.
  • Quotes

    “It’s a great format. It’s a balanced format where you need to know when to attack and when to defend. It’s not a rushed format, it’s about understanding when to attack and when to defend, for both batters as bowlers. I really enjoy playing this format.”
    India Vice Captain Shikhar Dhawan doesn’t hide his love for ODIs

    *2:30 PM GMT, August 17: The preview was updated after news came in that Sean Williams was available to play.

    Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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