Bulawayo: India made light work of their fourth one-day international against Zimbabwe on Thursday, as they beat the hosts by nine wickets to take a 4-0 lead in the series.(Live Blog - 4th ODI)
After bowling Zimbabwe out for just 144, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina hit unbeatean half-centuries as India achieved their target inside 31 overs.
Debutant Cheteshwar Pujara was the only Indian batsman to lose his wicket when he was bowled by Tendai Chatara for 13, before Sharma and Raina were granted an easy return to form as they knocked off the remaining 122 runs required.
After going 12 one-day innings without a half-century, Raina was promoted up the order and finished unbeaten on 65 from 71 deliveries.
Although Sharma had failed to contribute in the first three matches, he was not troubled as he constructed a patient innings of 64 not out.
An 80-run partnership for the sixth wicket between half-centurion Elton Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller was as good as it got for Zimbabwe as they posted their lowest total of a disappointing series.
The home side slumped to 47 for five inside the opening 16 overs of the innings as India's bowlers sliced through the Zimbabwean top order.
Man of the match Mohit Sharma led the attack on his international debut, claiming 1 for 13 in his first six-over spell after India had won the toss and elected to field.
Sharma also grabbed the key wicket of Waller to end what little resistance Zimbabwe had to offer, and finished with figures of 2 for 26 from 10 overs.
The 24-year-old set India on their way when he had Sikandar Raza caught behind in the seventh over of the innings, before Hamilton Masakadza contributed to his own demise when he was run out whilst taking a sluggish single.
With Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams both dismissed without scoring and Vusi Sibanda bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 24, Zimbabwe looked as though they could be bowled out for a double-digit score.
However Chigumbura and Waller revived the innings with a patient stand, which ticked along at just over three runs per over until the batting powerplay was taken.
The 36th over brought 11 runs, but the next one brought a wicket as Sharma had Waller caught behind for 35.
With the lower order unable to contribute, Chigumbura was soon left stranded on 50 not out as Zimbabwe were bowled out in 42.4 overs.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra claimed the last three wickets of the innings to record figures of 3 for 25.
India will have the opportunity to complete a series whitewash when the final match takes place at the same venue on Saturday.
Story first published on: Thursday, 01 August 2013 12:09 IST