Though K.L. Rahul’s promotion to opening the batting didn’t give the desired result, the stand-in captain was happy with some of his batters getting to spend some time at the crease.
In a chase of 162, India were 97-4 before Sanju Samson hit three fours and four sixes to be unbeaten on 43 off 39 balls and shared a 56-run stand with Deepak Hooda (25, including three fours) to seal the match in India’s favour with 146 balls remaining.
“Not really, we do bat deep. Good for some of the guys to get time in the middle. I do need some time in the middle, obviously playing this series was important for me to take some runs and confidence away, unfortunately, didn’t work out today. Hopefully in the next game,” said Rahul in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Rahul felt it was nice to be challenged by Zimbabwe’s bowling attack, who were unable to separate the opening partnership of Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill in defence of 189 in the first ODI on Thursday.
“They do have some quality bowlers, I saw that in the previous series against Bangladesh as well on the television. The bowlers did come hard, they’re tall and big and strong boys. A good challenge for us as batters, but we bat deep so it wasn’t a worry.”
Rahul also expressed gratitude to fans who came out in support of the Indian team. “We are here to play good cricket and win, every opportunity is an honour, so we want to go out there next time also to enjoy ourselves and put a good performance on a weekend. Wherever we travel across the world, we get good support from Indian fans, very thankful for their support.”
Samson, who won the Player of the Match award for his three catches and an unbeaten knock of 43, was delighted over contributing his bit in India with gloves and bat taking an unassailable lead in the three-match series.
“How much ever time you spend in the middle feels good. Even more special to do it for the country. I took three catches but I missed a stumping too; as keepers, we’re used to listening to things we didn’t do well. I really enjoyed keeping and contributing to the win. In this match, the fast bowlers picked the length much quicker and I really enjoyed keeping.”
Zimbabwe skipper Regis Chakabva liked his bowlers’ show but rued the lack of runs on board. Just like the first ODI on Thursday, Zimbabwe had a top-order meltdown and despite some rebuilding efforts from Sean Williams (42) and Ryan Burl (39), the hosts couldn’t save themselves from being bowled out for 161, their second under-200 score for the second time in as many matches.
“We had a really good fight in the field. We’ve struggled to pick early wickets in the last few games and we did that today. We fell short of runs on the board. Our execution lacked a little bit in the end, and we’re looking to score more runs. The bowlers came out charging and they tried to hit their lengths.”