And that seals the deal! Short and down leg again. This time Dhawan connects the pull through backward square leg to finish 81 not out and seal a ten-wicket win for India.
3:25pm Right then! A massive win for India to get things underway with the stand-in coach-captain combo of VVS Laxman-KL Rahul. The games in this series do come thick and fast. So do join us for the second ODI day after tomorrow. Vishal's report would be up here soon. Meanwhile, if you have an appetite for some intriguing Test cricket, you may want to hop over here to follow the action at Lord's. For now, that's it from Vishal, Venkat and me, Sudarshanan, for the game. See you on Saturday. Till then, take care. Ciao!
KL Rahul, India captain: "As good as it can be, I am on the field and I am happy. We do play a lot of cricket, injuries are going to be a part of it. Being away from the game is hard. Rehab and everything everyday gets boring. We'd rather be playing 365 days than be with the physio. Picking up wickets is crucial. There was a swing and seam movement as well. But it was good see them put the ball in right areas and be disciplined. For a few of us, it is great to be back in the Indian dressing room."
Deepak Chahar, player of the match: "The landing area was a little hard and my nails were not going in and were slippy. When you are playing an international game after six and a half months, you are always nervous. Before coming here I played four-five practice games. But playing for the country, you wanted to do well and the mind and the body was not working together. That ball I wanted to bowl a bouncer and the spikes didn't go through and I slipped."
Regis Chakabva, Zimbabwe captain: "The Indian bowlers bowled really well and put pressure on us. I thought we started well but lost our way from the 18-over mark. It was good to see Richie [Ngarava] and Brad [Evans] give a good partnership at the back end. They were quite good and we needed one or two big partnerships. We didn't have that enough. Our bowlers tried to come hard at them but Shikhar and Gill batted really well and took us out of the game."
Shikhar Dhawan: "I am enjoying batting with the youngster [Gill] and I feel like a youngster too. I enjoyed the consistency from West Indies. I knew that once I was set, I would go after the bowlers. I wanted to rotate the strike as well and then was to accelerate. My rhythm with Gill has settled nicely. The way he bats and times the ball is lovely to watch. He has shown the consistency in converting fifties into bigger fifties. I enjoy [catching at slip] and it has become easy with experience. Our bowling unit did well and it was nice to see Deepak Chahar come back from injury and pick up three wickets. I am sure he would be feeling confident as well."
BeardGuy: "I know this is an era of multi-format players, but Gill is so perfect in ODIs that it makes him look bad in every other format, even though he's pretty decent at all of them."
3:05pm Comprehensive, clinical and yet an expected win for India to kick-off their tour of Zimbabwe! One hundred and eighty nine was never going to be enough for India, unless Zimbabwe struck early with the new ball. Though both Ngarava and Nyauchi were decent with their opening burst, keeping the openers quiet, they couldn't pick up a wicket and Dhawan and Gill made up for their slow start to finish unbeaten in the eighties. Dhawan's dropped chance didn't help matters for the hosts. Gill was particularly impressive with his change of gears. It was all after the bowlers, led by three-fors from each of Chahar, Axar and Prasidh helped bowl Zimbabwe out for a below par score. And once that happened, a thirteenth consecutive ODI win for India over Zimbabwe was inevitable.
Angling in on a length, clipped to fine leg.
Length ball outside off, jags back in and Gill gets his bottom hand off the push towards cover.
Vishal: "okay so another innings ending in 90's for Shubman Gill , ugh what kind of curse is this?" There are no 'nines' in cricket
Short again, crunched to deep square leg.
Short and down leg again, misses the pull.
Lands it short on the body, he misses the pull and gets it off the elbow towards the keeper's right. The change of pace did him in.
Lunges forward and blocks it to the off side.
Full on off, eased to long-off.
Full on middle, whips it well through midwicket, so much so, that the dive from Kaia in the deep was not sufficient to stop it.
Around middle and leg, turned to midwicket.
Full and outside off, gets it off the outer half towards point.
Lands it on a length outside off, slapped towards point.
Length ball angling away, defended towards backward point. 15 off this over, 40 off the last four.
Full and outside off, doesn't connect the steer to deep third well.
Full and way down leg, Gill just helps it away to the fine leg cushion with a flick.
Chandra: "Can Zimbabwe invoke the mercy clause and cancel the series? " Their petition would be to have more games against top teams, won't it?
Short again, but off pace. Mistimes the pull to deep square leg.
Banged in short, it swings further towards Dhawan, who sways and looks to play the upper cut. But the ball climbs and flies well over the leaping Chakabva for four byes.
Full and slanting away, slapped through cover for one.
Crunched! That sound of bat hitting the ball should be converted into a message tone. Short in length, Gill plays the short-arm jab through midwicket for four.
Easily done, very easily done. Fuller on middle, slower through the air. Dhawan walks to the off side and nonchalantly uses the flick to lift it over midwicket.