Zimbabwe v India, 2nd ODI, Harare July 25, 2013

Toss crucial as mismatched sides face off


Match facts

Friday, July 26, 2013
Start time 0900 local (0700 GMT)

Big Picture

World champions and Champions Trophy winners India currently have 122 ranking points, a massive 68 more than 10th-placed Zimbabwe. In the first ODI, there was no masking the huge difference in quality between the two sides, though India's squad is filled with new faces.

What would have helped Zimbabwe put up more of a fight was winning the toss, which could prove critical in deciding whether the matches in Harare are competitive. After Virat Kohli called correctly on Wednesday, the new balls jagged around sharply for the first hour, posing plenty of problems for Zimbabwe's openers. Sikandar Raza and Vusi Sibanda were able to withstand the early examination but the score only moved along sluggishly. With games starting as early as 9am, that early assistance is even more pronounced. By the time India came out to bat, the pitch had dried out and was a benign batting surface which offered little for Zimbabwe's bowlers.

On a tour which allows India the luxury to experiment, the visitors blooded two players in the first ODI, and both had decent outings. Saurashtra fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat will be reasonably satisfied with his debut (10-1-39-1), a marked difference from his first Test which was a forgettable wicket-less performance. The other newcomer, Ambati Rayudu, will be even happier, after a careful unbeaten 63* helped shepherd India to a comfortable victory.

Zimbabwe's bowling looked innocuous but one thing to hearten the home side's fans was the performance of Raza, the opener, who made a patient 82 to anchor the innings. That meant for the third game in a row, Zimbabwe's top order had provided a healthy beginning. The home team will need more of that tomorrow, especially if they are again asked to bat first.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed games)
Zimbabwe LWWLL

In the spotlight

Though it has been nearly a decade since Dinesh Karthik made his international debut, a permanent spot remains elusive. His call-up for the Champions Trophy in June came on the back of a sustained run of big scores in domestic competitions and it brought him back to the national team after nearly three years. The big scores haven't materialised for India yet, and with MS Dhoni set to return for the next ODI series, Karthik has only a few more chances to nail down a place in the middle order.

Brendan Taylor is Zimbabwe's most accomplished batsman but he hasn't had the best of times recently. His highest score in the past seven innings is 39, and Zimbabwe will hope he can produce bigger numbers than that in this series. Also, he came in as late as the 34th over in the first ODI. Perhaps Zimbabwe will tweak the order to allow him the opportunity to spend more time in the middle.

Team news

Zimbabwe's batting seems fairly settled but they have plenty of options in their large squad when it comes to the bowling. Fast bowler Brian Vitori is one of those who could be picked after being left out of the first game.

Zimbabwe (likely): 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Sikandar Raza, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Tinotenda Mutombodzi/Brian Vitori, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Tendai Chatara

India are unlikely to switch around their team too much unless there are injuries. Perhaps the only player whose place will be questioned is quick bowler Vinay Kumar, who was again expensive towards the end of the innings.

India (likely): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Vinay Kumar, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Mohammad Shami

Stats and trivia

  • On Wednesday, Kohli became the quickest to 15 ODI hundreds; it took him only 109 innings, breaking the previous record held by Saeed Anwar (143 innings)
  • In the last 10 years, Zimbabwe's opening partnership in ODIs against India yields 43.66 runs on average. The next highest against a Test nation is 28.60 against England
  • The 159-run stand between Kohli and Ambati Rayudu in the first ODI was the highest for the third wicket in India-Zimbabwe ODIs


"When the wicket's flat it seems nearly impossible [to get Kohli out]. He's a class player and he's done it against the best teams in the world."
Brendan Taylor

* July 25 5.00pm GMT Rayudu's score has been corrected

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh on July 26, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    @indian fans dont get overheated on who should be selected and who not. There are only 11 spots so lets not argue. My thoughts are that since the selectors gave a platform for some of the other players a chance, it would be nice to ring in changes and still be competitive. It would be nice to see Rahane, Pujara get a bat. Also Rassol and Mohit a bowl. The choices will only come by the team management on the playing eleven.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    @Anand Jakhotia....for u'r kind information, i am a cricketer and know the facts of cricket...Playing 2 new balls is not an easy task...this rule is implemented by ICC to encourage the bowlers in the batting dominated game of cricket..all the players cannot play the NEW BALL especially u'r ROHITH SHARMA at SEAMING & BOUNCING TRACS...he got much more chances than he deserves..it's time to find a specialist opener... in fact DK is much better player than ROHITH and can play at any number and also don't forget he is the first choice W/K for substituting MSD in case of any injury / rest / retirement... SO DON'T SIMPLY PRAISE players like ROHITH...who is very SLOW in batting / fielding....

  • Naresh on July 26, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    Team management is not mirroring selectors thoughts. The iNdian team is the same as last one!!!! Rest key players and bring in the bench players. Whats the use of taking players on tours like these and not using tham? Surely the indian team would still be competitive with changes?

  • B on July 26, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    @Hafiz Mohammad Tasleem Ranjha Insha Allah I am with you. Zim will win today

  • Rajashekar on July 26, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Anand Jakhotia, If you are not sure about stats... I can bring it for u... 99 ODI's he is averaging 32+..... We all know Rohit's talent... but he failed to deliver in crucial times.... There is a witty comment about Rohit in social N/W Teacher says he has talent... but fails in all exams....It's good for him he found the rhythm at last... We need consistency from him, not an on and off performances...

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Wish Pujara in place of Raina... Its really surprise how Raina is keeping his place despite poor runs in last series..

  • J on July 26, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Zimbabwe at home is a fairly competitive side - their defeating visitors Bangladesh is proof of that. So it is not unlikely that they can surprise this Indian team particularly if they bowl first. The fact that India bowlers were unable to strike under very helpful conditions shows their inexperience and puts a lot of pressure on India's batsmen to perform consistently

  • sumanth on July 26, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    It is the ideal time to test the likes of pujara,mohit sharma and rasool as india are 1-0 up in the series.I feel karthik should open with either rohit or dhawan and pujara should take that spot.rasool in place of rj can also be tried as he is also an allrounder.mohit sharma should play in place of vinay kumar.this combination will definitely work i guess...

  • ZCF on July 26, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Come to think of it, I'm actually happier us batting first. India's gradually relaxing minds will gift us a win or two. Apart from Vitori(wickets)&Utseya(economy), we simply do not have the bowlers to restrict an Indian side from setting a huge total. Jarvis' ODI record as being among the worst to represent Zim in this format speaks for itself, while the WI gave Chatara a hiding once they decided to attack him and he did not have the skill nor experience to do something about it.

    This is really silly, bordering on embarrassing! Rainsford, Mpofu, Panyangara&Mupariwa all available but ignored, yet we want to chase under 300 runs! It was never going to happen with the personnel they selected. They have insufficient promise of wickets to stem the onslaught. At least Shingi strikes more than he fetches.

    If the goal is to bowl first then Price, Vitori&Utseya are a must, with gambles being taken on Chatara&Mushangwe to complete the attack. Elton&Hami to fill in the overs for those two.

  • Farai on July 26, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Price or Cremer in for Mutombodzi. But we desperately need the toss to help. Come on Zim!!