Bulawayo, Aug 1: Suresh Raina returned to form with an unbeaten half century as India extended their winning run over Zimbabwe and raced to a 4-0 lead in the five-match series. Yet again, it was an easy victory, by nine wickets, for Team India against the hosts.
It was Indian team's seventh victory in a row. The sequence of wins started last month in the Caribbean where they lifted the tri-series trophy.
Chasing just 145 to win here in Bulawayo on Thursday, Raina (65 not out) and Rohit Sharma (64 not out) took the team home in 30.5 overs for the loss of debutant Cheteshwar Pujara (13). Raina and Rohit had an unfinished partnership of 122 runs for the second wicket. Earlier in the day, the match was set up in India's favour by the bowlers.
Left-handed Raina, promoted to number three to rediscover his lost touch, made the most of the opportunity. He brought up his 29th fifty in 60 balls. This was his first half century after 11 innings.
Rohit too was in good nick while registering his 18th ODI half ton. During his innings today, he completed 2,500 runs in 102 matches.
Debutant Mohit Sharma was Man-of-the-match for his 2/26. He is the second Indian debutant to bag the award after current chairman of selection committee - Sandeep Patil.
The fifth and final match of the series is on Saturday (August 3).
Zimbabwe bowled out for 144
India produced yet another dominant performance as they bundled out Zimbabwe for a paltry 144 in 42.4 overs.
All five Indian bowlers were successful after captain Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to field. Debutant paceman Mohit Sharma was excellent with 2/26 in 10 overs (3 maidens). He opened the bowling. Legspinner Amit Mishra had figures of 3/25 while Ravindra Jadeja finished with 2/25. Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat had one scalp apiece.
For Zimbabwe, Elton Chigumbura's 50 not out was the lone bright spot. Their skipper Brendan Taylor collected his second duck of the series. In 4 innings, he has managed just 35 runs.
Mohit took his maiden ODI wicket in his 4th over, dismissing Sikandar Raza for 7. He was caught behind the wicket by Dinesh Karthik. After this early loss, the hosts were put further into trouble by Indian bowlers as they were reeling at 47/5 in 15.1 overs.
There was an 80-run stand between Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller (35) that raised hopes of a good total. But Mohit returned for a new spell and removed Waller. From 127/6, Zimbabwe's tail did not wag as Mishra got into the act taking the final three wickets. Mishra is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 12.
Seven Zimbabwe batsmen failed to reach double-digit scores (three were out without scoring). Mohit was the most economical (2.6 runs per over) of Indian bowlers.
India opt to bowl
Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohit were handed their One Day International debuts today. India won the toss and sent Zimbabwe to bat.
Pujara and Mohit come in place of Shikhar Dhawan and R Vinay Kumar. Dhawan has been rested while Vinay is carrying a niggle, said Kohli at the toss. Zimbabwe are unchanged.
Haryana right-arm paceman Mohit impressed during the last domestic season and also in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Chennai Super Kings.
India have already clinched the series with an unassailable lead of 3-0. The fifth and final ODI will be played on August 3 (Saturday).
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shami Ahmed, Mohit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (captain), Sikandar Raza, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Michael Chinouya, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.
Match starts at 12.30 PM IST