rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Batting a worry for India ahead of second Zimbabwe ODI

Batting a worry for India ahead of second Zimbabwe ODI

July 11, 2015 15:27 IST

Robin Uthappa is run out by Zimbabwe's Graeme Cremer (left). Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Pushed to the brink before managing a narrow win in the opening One-Day International, India will have to quickly sort out its middle-order batting woes when it takes on a spirited Zimbabwe in the second match in Harare, on Sunday.

The visitors huffed and puffed to a thrilling four-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. They will be keen to clinch the series by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.

The Zimbabweans showed why it wouldn't be all that easy for Ajinkya Rahane's men to walk away with wins despite being pre-series favourites on paper.

The Indians have much to worry about on the batting front given that the middle order let the side down badly. In fact, had it not been for career-best efforts by Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny, even putting up a decent total on the board would have been quite tough for the tourists.

Rayudu produced a career-best unbeaten 124, his second international century, to steer India to the 250-plus score in the able company of Binny, who hit a fluent 77 off 79 balls.

Ambati Rayudu

India's Ambati Rayudu (centre) acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

The likes of Murali Vijay (1), Manoj Tiwary (2) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane himself will have to come up with improved performances to ensure that India do not find themselves in another embarrassing position again in the series.

Zimbabwe, to their credit, showed stomach for a fight and skipper Elton Chigumbura epitomised that with a gallant unbeaten 104-run knock. Given the spirit shown by the hosts, the series has found the spark that a battle of unequals needs to invoke interest.

The home team's sprightly attitude was also helped to an extent by India's bowlers, who consistently erred in line and length.

Although left-arm spinner Axar Patel and Stuart Binny shared four wickets between them but senior pro Harbhajan Singh will be expected to make a greater impact in his comeback ODI series.

The Indian batsmen, on the other hand, will have to ensure that Chamu Chibhabha (2/25) and Donald Tripano (2/48) do not have the kind of strangling effect that they had with the new ball in the opening match.

Rayudu has already stated that the conditions are particularly favourable for batsmen and his team would prefer to bat first in the series.

"It felt like we were batting in England rather than in Zimbabwe. It is commendable that even though the odds were against us condition wise, we could pull off a win. I hope we win the toss in the coming matches," he said on Friday.

Chigumbura, on the other hand, wants his frontline batsmen to come up with a more responsible performance and ensure that the team does not have to rely on the lower order in crunch situations.

"I thought the way we kept losing wickets, we didn't get the momentum we needed because we had to keep rebuilding. We kept on trying to build a partnership but up to the end when I ended up batting with the specialist bowlers instead of a batsman, that's probably where we lost the game," he said.

© Copyright 2018 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.