When India last toured Zimbabwe, they were left stunned
India may be favourites, but based on past experience, ought not to take momentum, ranking and form for granted.
- Updated: July 23, 2013 02:43 PM IST
The No.1 ODI side in the world will play a country that is not ranked as they have played insufficient matches. When India face Zimbabwe, the Men in Blue will stand as clear favourites, heading into the series on the back of a Champions Trophy triumph and the tri-series title in the West Indies.
But, India based on past experience, ought not to take momentum, ranking and form for granted. (Also read: No seniors, no problem, says Kohli)
The last time they toured the African nation, in 2010, India lost both ODI games against the hosts. Several members of the current squad were part of that tour and would want to exercise the ghosts of that series. Suesh Raina was the skipper of that ODI side which also boasted Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma and Vinay Kumar among current members.
India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were the nations in the infamous tri-series, with India and Sri Lanka expected to contest the final. India played Zimbabwe in the opener on 28 May, 2010 at the Queen's Sports Club in Bulawayo. Rohit Sharma scored his maiden ODI hundred to post 285/5 in 50 overs. In the stiff chase, Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine scored half-centuries as Zimbabwe reached the target with four wickets and ten balls to spare.
India did recover from that loss however, in the next game versus Sri Lanka. Chasing 243 for victory, Rohit Sharma hit a second successive century as India eased to victory with almost seven overs to spare.
After Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe in the next match, the tournament headed to Harare where India faced the hosts. Batting first, India struggled to deal with the pace and movement off the pitch and had to rely on a lower-order burst by Ravindra Jadeja to post 194/9 in 50 overs. The result was never in doubt after Taylor and the dangerous Hamilton Masakadza were involved in a 128-run opening stand. Zimbabwe won with more than ten overs to spare, as India were left humiliated by the minnows. A further defeat to Sri Lanka meant that the Indians were sent packing from the tournament.
This time around the result is expected to be different, with many predicting a 5-0 whitewash for the visitors. Even Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller has conceded that it would be great to win just one match against the world champions. The two sides have met each 51 times in One-day Internationals with 39 victories to India, 10 to Zimbabwe and two games that were tied.
On paper the series looks a lopsided contest. But history suggests that India will not be taking their opponents lightly.