Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar and Prasidh Krishna picked three wickets each as India bowled out Zimbabwe for 189 all out in 40.3 overs in the first ODI at Harare Sports Club on Thursday. Apart from Chahar's 3-27, Patel picked 3-24 while Prasidh had 3-50 and Mohammed Siraj scalped one wicket too.
At 110-8, Zimbabwe were in danger of being bowled out for a low total as Chahar, in his first international match since February this year, bowled a superb spell of 3-27. But fantastic counter-attacking knocks from Brad Evans (33) and Richard Ngarava (34 not out) and their record 70-run stand for the ninth wicket, their highest-ever against India, helped Zimbabwe get close to 200.
Electing to bowl first, India conceded early multiple byes in the first three overs. While Chahar took his time to settle in, Siraj was looking sharp. The duo found some swing and majorly pitched their deliveries on the good length while slipping in short balls occasionally.
Eventually, the short ball did the trick for Chahar as he cramped Innocent Kaia for room on the pull and the resultant thick edge was grabbed by wicketkeeper Sanju Samson on the second attempt. He returned in his next over to have Tadiwanashe Marumani poking at a short ball and nicked behind to Samson.
Siraj took India's third wicket in power-play when he shortened his length and got the ball to move away late from Sean Williams, who poked tentatively at it to give a simple catch to first slip.
Post-power-play, Chahar had his third scalp as his late swing on a full ball trapped Wesley Madhevere lbw while going for the flick. Zimbabwe had some relief when captain Regis Chakabva hit three boundaries in two overs off Chahar and Siraj.
Sikandar Raza began with a lovely drive off Chahar and survived an lbw appeal on the very next ball. But his stay was cut short by Krishna, who had beaten him a couple of times before. On a full ball, Krishna got Raza forward and forced him to edge straight to the first slip. Ryan Burl got going with two boundaries but miscued a pull on Krishna's short ball straight to deep square leg.
Chakabva continued to hold the fort, flicking Krishna for a boundary while Luke Jongwe took Zimbabwe's total past 100-run mark in the 26th over with back-to-back boundaries -- a cut through outside off was followed by a gorgeous drive past mid-on. Patel applied brakes on Zimbabwe's innings by castling Chakabva with a slider and then trapped Jongwe lbw in his next over.
From there, the fightback act from Evans and Ngarava began. The duo rotated the strike and scored the occasional boundaries. Evans then smashed Kuldeep Yadav over mid-wicket for the first six of the innings. Ngarava feasted on Krishna's outside off deliveries to send them to the boundary rope before dispatching Patel for a huge six over wide long-on.
As the crowd began to cheer loudly for the home batters, Krishna brought the 70-run stand to a close with a yorker from round the wicket rattling Ngarava's off-stump. Axar ended the innings by having Victor Nyauchi edging to first slip to end Zimbabwe's innings at 189.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 189 all out in 40.3 overs (Regis Chakabva 35, Richard Ngarava 34; Axar Patel 3-24, Deepak Chahar 3-27) against India