Gallant Raza fightback gives India scare as Zimbabwe fall short by 13 runs

India 289/8 (50 overs) beat Zimbabwe 276 (all out in 49.7 overs) by 13 runs

HARARE – Shubman Gill made his first international hundred as India beat Zimbabwe by 13 runs after a tense finish in Harare on Monday to complete a 3-0 ODI whitewash.

Gill not only wreaked havoc with the bat, he also caught Zimbabwe centurion Sikandar Raza, who was threatening to give the home side a shock victory.

Gill won the player of the match and player of the series awards, having contributed 245 runs in the three matches.

After India captain KL Rahul won the toss and batted, the tourists posted 289-8 in 50 overs. Zimbabwe were all out for 276 in reply with three balls remaining.

The tourists looked set for victory when they reduced the home side to 122-5 with all the regular scorers bar Raza back in the pavilion.

But Pakistan-born Raza shrugged off poor form in the first two matches to smash 115 and leave Zimbabwe needing 17 runs off 12 balls for victory.

The tail could not deliver, and a gallant run chase by Zimbabwe came up short.

Gill smacked 130 off 97 balls, hitting 15 fours and a six. Ishan Kishan (50), Shikhar Dhawan (40) and Rahul (30) also contributed with the bat.

The breakthrough century for 22-year-old Gill came less than a month after he came agonisingly close, scoring an unbeaten 98 against the West Indies in Port of Spain.

He shared a 140-run third-wicket partnership with Kishan, who reached his half-century before being run out by Tony Munyonga.

From the first ball of the final over Gill sought a boundary, but achieved height rather than length off a Brad Evans delivery and was caught at long-off by Innocent Kaia.

Luck was twice on Gill’s side as he survived a close leg-before appeal on 97 and was dropped by Victor Nyauchi on 110.

Evans, the son of a former Zimbabwe international, was the only bowler to impress, taking a career-best 5-54 in 10 overs.

Raza, regaining the form that brought him unbeaten centuries in two ODIs against Bangladesh, faced 95 balls and struck three sixes and nine fours.

Among the Zimbabwe top order, Sean Williams (45) did best with an innings that included seven fours. Evans (28) shared a 104-run eighth-wicket stand with Raza.

Avesh Khan (3-66) took the most wickets among the Indian bowlers, but while Shardul Thakur (1-55) was expensive, he claimed the prized wicket of Raza. – AFP

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