Rajkot: Ajit Agarkar smashed 67 runs off 25 balls to propel India to 301 for six in the fifth and final One-day-International at the Rajkot Municipal Stadium on Thursday. Agarkar became the first Indian to score a fastest 50 in ODIs when he reached the land mark off just 21 deliveries.Agarkar broke the record set by Kapil Dev, who hammered 50 off 22 balls against the West Indies in 1983. Agarkar, Hemang Badani (77) and Reetinder Singh Sodhi (53 not out, 67 balls, four fours and one six) pushed India into the comfort zone of over 300 runs. India added 109 runs from the last 10 overs with Agarkar leading the charge.Agarkar smashed seven fours and four sixes to give the spectators their money's worth as India looked to seal the series 4-1. The outfield is pretty fast and the Zimbabwean bowlers will have to come out with some extra ordinary batting to make a match of it.
The Indians haven't fared well at Rajkot and this could be an opportunity to set that record straight.Left-handed batsman Hemang Badani once again proved how useful he could be in the Indian middle order. Badani propped up the sagging Indian middle order after the home team was asked to bat by the Zimbabwean skipper Heath Streak. He pulled the Indian innings up from 114 for five in the company of Sodhi, who made the best use of this opportunity to prove his worth.The Indian innings, with skipper Saurav Ganguly forced to sit out with a one-match suspension, never really got going at the outset. Sridharan Sriram, who was promoted up the order, failed utilise this golden opportunity. Streak exploited the left-handers weakness outside the off stump and Andy Flower took the catch behind the wickets.
Stand in skipper Rahul Dravid began in his usual confident self but fell soon to Strang when he was caught by Streak. Sachin Tendulkar was also in an aggressive mood and tried to go after the Zimbabwean bowling. Tendulkar paid the price for his over aggression when he dragged Nkala on to the stumps.Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag sparkled but briefly. It was Badani, Sodhi and Agarkar all the way as they set India up for a possible victory.
Yuvraj Singh got the nod instead of Ganguly, while Sodhi replaced Zaheer Khan, who earned a well deserved rest with India already having clinched the series.Zimbabwe made three changes from the last One-dayer played at Kanpur by bringing Gavin Rennie, Douglas Marillier and Bryan Murphy in place of Stuart Carlisle, Travis Friend and Henry Olonga.