Cuttack: India just about managed to make it. Hemang Badani's unbeaten 58 helped India to scamper home to a three-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first One-day International at the Barbati Stadium on Saturday. India scored 255 for seven off 47.3 overs in reply to Zimbabwe's 253 for seven.India were docked one over for the slow over rate in the Zimbabwe innings and were required to reach the target in 49 overs. India's chances appeared remote at one stage of the game as Badani had wickets falling around him. But, the youngster kept his cool and in the company of wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya put the Indian innings back on the rails.
Badani and Agarkar warmed the Indian cockles as they carried the day through with some brave strokes. A superb straight driven four off Heath Streak stamped man-of-the-match Badani's class and also signalled India's victory with nine balls to spare.Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Saurav Ganguly appeared to set the tone for the Indian victory by adding 102 runs by the 20th over. Tendulkar, who escaped a chance when Dirk Viljoen reacted late to an uppish drive, was at his best playing some superb shots in front of the wicket. Tendulkar was out trying to drive Dirk Viljoen on the on side.
India then lost a spate of wickets to leave the middle order in shatters. Two needless run outs saw India staggering at 144 for five. Badani added 59 runs with Dahiya, who played a sweet innings of 35, for the sixth wicket. He followed it up with an unbroken 50-run stand for the eighth wicket with Agarkar.Zimbabwe scored 253 for seven off 50 overs with Stuart Carlisle remaining unbeaten on 91 off 125 balls. A second wicket partnership of 115 runs between opener Alistair Campbell and Stuart Carlisle was the backbone of the Zimbabwe innings. India seemed to lose their way when these two batsmen were around.A moment of indecision led to the fall of Campbell's wicket. Campbell failed to read a slower delivery from Agarkar and went with his stroke. He only managed to play uppishly to mid on where Hemang Badani made no mistake.Campbell showed great form during his tenure at the wicket and scored 69 runs from 91 balls with nine fours and one six.
India's utility man Sachin Tendulkar than gave the bonus wicket of Andy Flower, who was stumped by wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya when he charged down the wicket.Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak won the toss and elected to bat. Zimbabwe lost an early wicket when Marillier was caught by Tendulkar of Zaheer Khan for nine with the side's total reading 27. Carlisle held the Zimbabwe innings together with useful partnerships after the fall of Campbell's wicket.Though the Indian fielding showed a youthful exuberance with Yuvraj Singh willing to throw himself around, they dropped a few catches.
The dismissal of Grant Flower was a brilliant effort by Yuvraj, who had to run around and dive full length to take the catch. The wicket of Grant Flower gave Agarkar his 99th wicket in One-day Internationals.