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India prove superior to Zimbabwe

The better team won the final encounter at Guwahati, taking the oneday series 3-2

The better team won the final encounter at Guwahati, taking the oneday series 3-2. Between the two teams, India was by a long distance the superior side. Injuries to a few key Indian players, by all means, did help the Zimbabweans in the series. It took a miraculous knock by Douglas Marillier at Mohali and a disciplined spell of medium-pace by Douglas Hondo at Kochi to help the tourists pull off two good wins in the series.

The match was all over the moment India set their rivals a stiff target of 334 runs. I have mentioned in my previous columns that the Indian bowling looks good when they have a big score behind them. There were moments in this series when I wondered what was going on. The Indians made Zimbabwe look like a very good team.
Zimbabwe choked at Hyderabad, and they did so again at Guwahati. It was well within the realms of possibility that Zimbabwe could win their first overseas tournament. Perhaps the pressure got the better of them. I am forced to conclude that the Zimbabwe think-tank focused more on what not to do to lose the final match than what had to be done to win the game. Cricket is first and foremost a game of confidence and dealing with pressure situations.
Zimbabwe faltered at the final block rather spectacularly. Their bowling had always been the weakest link, and to add to their woes, their best part of the game - the fielding - also crumbled under pressure. Dinesh Mongia and Yuvraj Singh exposed the limitations of the Zimbabwe bowling by unleashing an onslaught from which they never recovered.
The Indian innings was once again well spread out; there were useful contributions from the top and middle order. Zimbabwe's body language, during the carnage, was one of despair, and they knew that the game was slipping away from them. In the tail-end of the innings, India were allowed to score 111 runs off the last eight overs.
The match was all over the moment India set their rivals a stiff target of 334 runs. I have mentioned in my previous columns that the Indian bowling looks good when they have a big score behind them. There were moments in this series when I wondered what was going on. The Indians made Zimbabwe look like a very good team. But clearly, India were much superior to the tourists, and it was really only a matter of believing in themselves.
This one-day series win without the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble will give new confidence to the team. The youngsters like Mongia and Yuvraj Singh proved what a modicum of faith in their own abilities could do.
It augurs well for the Indian team that we seem to have a good pool of players with the right mixture of youth and experience. With Ajay Ratra doing well behind the stumps, the future of Indian cricket suddenly looks very bright. The Indian team, led by Sourav Ganguly, has a very big chance of winning the Test series in West Indies. My best wishes are with the boys.