Zimbabwe vs India, ODIs: Decoding the key player battles
The Indian cricket team will cross swords with Zimbabwe a in three-match ODI series, starting August 18. Harare will play host to each of the one-dayers. Notably, this is India's first tour of Zimbabwe in six years. And, KL Rahul will captain the visitors. Zimbabwe have been a hot commodity of late and will look to pull an upset. We decode the player battles.
Rahul is set to make a return after missing action for a while. The talented top-order batter will be relishing a challenge against Richard Ngarava. The Zimbabwe pacer has 24 wickets in ODIs and is the team's key asset with the new ball. Richard will be aiming to bowl in the right channels and test Rahul, who has 196 runs versus Zimbabwe at 196.00.
25-year-old Brad Evans made his ODI debut in the second encounter of the three-match series against Bangladesh recently. He took 2/53 in the third ODI to open his account. The right-arm pacer has the tendency to leak runs and Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan will be tempted to go for the kill. Dhawan has amassed 6,493 runs in ODIs at 45.40.
Sikandar Raza has 3,483 ODI runs at 37.05. He scored two successive unbeaten tons recently versus Bangladesh and is in good touch. Raza, who is a good player against spin, will be tested by Axar Patel. As per Cricmetric, Axar has bowled 56 deliveries to Raza, who has amassed 28 runs, slamming three fours. He is yet to be dismissed by the left-arm spinner.
30-year-old Innocent Kaia is an interesting player for Zimbabwe and he will be hoping to make an impact against India. Recently, he smashed a record-breaking 110 versus Bangladesh. He can rotate the strike well and is a busy batter. A key battle between Kaia and Prasidh Krishna could be on offer. Prasidh has will hope to draw substantial bounce, being a tall bowler.
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).