India again proved too strong for Zimbabwe, winning the second One-Day International by eight wickets in Harare, on Monday.
After dismissing the hosts in 34.3 overs for a paltry 126, the tourists chased down the modest target in 26.5 overs and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, having won the opening ODI by nine wickets on Saturday.
Openers Lokesh Rahul and Karun Nair led India’s easy chase, putting on an opening stand of 58 runs before the former was bowled by Chamu Chibhabha for 33.
Ambati Rayudu (41 off 44 balls) and Nair (39 off 68) then put together a partnership of 67 runs.
However, with India two runs from victory, Nair was trapped leg before by Sikandar Raza.
Manish Pandey hit up with remaining runs with a four to complete a resounding victory.
Earlier, on another chilly morning at the Harare Sports Club, Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss for the second time in succession and, as expected, put the opposition in.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal scalped three wickets for 35 runs after pacers Barinder Sran (2-17) and Dhawal Kulkarni (2-31) made early inroads as Zimbabwe lost their last seven wickets for 20 runs. Number eleven Sean Williams did not come out to bat owing to a sudden finger injury.
Sran and Kulkarni got the ball to swing immediately after Zimbabwe chose to open with Hamilton Masakadaza (9) and Chamu Chibhabha (21).
Lack of application from the top-order left them struggling at 39 for 3 in 10 overs.
The experienced Vusi Sibanda gave the innings some momentum with a fighting 53 off 69 balls, but his exit led to a batting collapse.
He shared a handy 67-run stand with Sikandar Raza (16 off 41) to take his side past the 100-run mark.
Chahal triggered off the collapse by removing Raza and Elton Chigumbura (0) with successive deliveries. Thirteen balls later, the spinner sent back Sibanda to have Zimbabwe in further trouble at 107 for six.
Sibanda was Zimbabwe’s lone warhorse as he completed his 21st ODI half century. His knock comprised six fours and a six.
It was a fresh pitch used for this game but stroke-making remained difficult.
More than the conditions, the Zimbabwe batsmen had themselves to blame as they did not learn from the mistakes made in the opening game.