ZIM vs IND, 1st ODI: Match preview, stats, and more
India would take on hosts Zimbabwe in the first of the three-ODI series on August 18 at the Harare Sports Club. This is India's first tour to Zimbabwe in six years. KL Rahul is set to lead the visitors, with Shikhar Dhawan being his deputy. Zimbabwe have been a hot commodity of late and will look to pull an upset. Here's the preview.
As stated, the Harare Sports Club would host the first ODI (12:45 PM IST). The iconic ground has hosted a total of 165 ODIs to date. Chasing sides have won 84 of these games. The average first-innings score at this venue is 231. The match will be aired live on the Sony Sports Network, while SonyLIV has the streaming rights (live subscription).
India will be the heavy favorites heading into the one-dayers. They boast a 51-10 win-loss record (Tied: 2). Notably, the Men in Blue have won their last 12 ODIs versus Zimbabwe. Their last defeat was during the Triangular series featuring Sri Lanka in 2010. Also, India last toured Zimbabwe for a bilateral series in 2016, winning both ODIs (3-0) and T20Is (2-1).
Dhawan and Rahul will likely open for India in the first ODI. It remains to be seen if skipper Rahul goes with one of Sanju Samson or Ishan Kishan. Notably, all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has replaced injured Washington Sundar in the squad. Probable XI: Dhawan, Rahul (captain), Shubman Gill, Sanju Samson, Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan.
Both Regis Chakabva and Sikandar Raza have been in sublime form for Zimbabwe. The latter slammed consecutive centuries against Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the pacers can stun a second-string Indian batting line-up in the match. Probable XI: Tadiwamashe Marumani, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Innocent Kaia, Wessly Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (captain and wicket-keeper), Tony Munyonga, Luke Jongwe, Brad Evans, Victor Nyauchi, Tanaka Chivanga.
Shikhar Dhawan has battered 6,493 ODI runs at 45.40. The Indian vice-captain can breach the 6,500-run mark in ODIs. Left-arm orthodox Axar Patel has captured 47 wickets at 32.55. He can race past the 50-wicket mark. Right-arm pacer Shardul Thakur has affected 92 dismissals in international cricket since his debut in 2017. He can also cross the 100-wicket mark.
An in-form Sikandar Raza has the hopes pinned to him for the upcoming 50-over duels. He has hammered 3,483 runs, striking at 84.60. He can breach the 3,500-run mark. Raza, who bowls off-spin, has claimed 68 scalps at 43.44. He can better the tallies of Eddo Brandes (70) and Gary Brent (75) among leading wicket-takers for Zimbabwe in the format.