The first One-Day international between India and Zimbabwe saw two outstanding performers in Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu.
Chasing a competitive 229 for victory, India were rocked early by Kyle Jarvis, who dismissed Shikhar Dhawan for 17, with the scoreboard reading 28.
Kohli walked in and straightaway got into the act. With his trademark flicks and aggressive running between the wickets he put on an important 31-run stand for the second wicket with Rohit Sharma.
After Rohit was snapped by Elton Chigumbura for 20, India’s skipper was joined by debutant Rayudu. The duo were involved in a match-winning 159 runs stand for the third wicket as India cruised to victory by six wickets. It is the 14th best third-wicket partnership for India.
On a seaming track, Kohli showed his class and temperament as he brought up his 100 off only 102 balls, which included 11 hits to the fence.
Rayudu, meanwhile, did not look like a batsman playing his first one-day international. He displayed good technique and was watchful as he went for singles and rotated the strike. How judicious he was in his shot-making can be gauged by the 48 deliveries that separated his first and second boundaries.
He posted his half-century with single off Chigumbura towards deep point and fittingly finished the game with a boundary off Tinotenda Mutombodzi as India won with more than six overs to spare.
Rayuddu was unbeaten on 63 off 84 deliveries.
Earlier, Zimbabwe’s innings got a much-needed lift, courtesy a gritty 82 from Pakistan-born Sikander Raza Butt.
Openers Vusi Sibanda and Raza took time to settle down, hitting just two boundaries in the first 10 overs, but as Amit Mishra was introduced, the Zimbabwe innings lost steam in search of some quick runs.
It was left to Chigumbura to ensure a fighting target for the Indians. He scored a quickfire 43, which was instrumental in Zimbabwe posting 228-7 from their 50 overs.
Image: Ambati Rayudu