Zimbabwe vs India 1st ODI: Preview and Prediction

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India under the captaincy of KL Rahul will play Zimbabwe in 3-match ODI series

Zimbabwe is all set to host the Indian Cricket Team for a short three-match ODI series starting on Thursday. All three India vs Zimbabwe ODI matches is scheduled to take place at the Harare Sports Club in Harare. The second and third ODI matches will be held on Saturday and Monday respectively.

India’s star players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested for this Zimbabwe tour. On the other hand, the trio of KL Rahul and Deepak Chahar will be making their return to international cricket after a while. Hosts Zimbabwe will miss their regular captain Craig Ervine, Blessing Muzarabani, and Tendai Chatara for the upcoming three ODI games against India at home.

Zimbabwe will host team India in the three-match ODI cricket series, with all the matches scheduled at Harare Sports Club. The hosts announced their squad just two days back with Regis Chakava named as captain of the team.

However, the current form of the home side is quite impressive as they recently defeated Bangladesh 2-1 in ODIs at their home and will give a tough fight to the visitors here at Harare Sports Club. Sikandar Raza, the Zimbabwean all-rounder is in fine touch since the Bangladesh series and will definitely pose a threat to the Indian side.

For India, all eyes will be on captain KL Rahul, who is making a comeback to the Indian setup after his injury and Covid scare since IPL 2022. He was named as the captain for the tour while Dhawan was named as his deputy.

VVS Laxman will be coaching the side as BCCI gives rest to India head coach Rahul Dravid for the Asia Cup 2022. The bowling unit will be tested on this tour as Krisna, Avesh, and Siraj are the pacers on the side, and Bishnoi and Axar are the two main spinners for the tour.

What have they done so far?

Zimbabwe have won both ODI and T20I series against Bangladesh

Zimbabwe have won both ODI and T20I series against Bangladesh

Zimbabwe is coming in fresh from 2-1 series wins in T20I and ODI series against Bangladesh. All-rounder Sikandar Raza was the top scorer for Zimbabwe in the ODI series with 252 runs in 3 matches. Innocent Kaia also scored a match-winning hundred in the 1st ODI and was the second highest run scorer for Zimbabwe with 127 runs in 3 innings. 

Sikandar Raza topped the charts in bowling and was the highest wicket-taker in the series, with 5 wickets in 3 matches at an average of 29.20. 

On the other hand, Team India swept West Indies in the 3-match ODI series recently. Shubman Gill was the top scorer with 205 runs in 3 innings, followed by Shikhar Dhawan with 168 runs in 3 matches. The return of KL Rahul to the Indian side has further strengthened the batting unit. 

In the bowling department, all-rounder Shardul Thakur was the top wicket-taker with 7 wickets in 3 matches, tied with Yuzvendra Chahal’s 7 wickets in 3 matches as well. 

Head to Head Record

India has a significant advantage over Zimbabwe in men’s One Day Internationals. The two sides have played each other 63 times in the format and the Men in Blue have been victorious in 51 of those games. Zimbabwe, meanwhile, has won merely 10 of the encounters played between the two sides. Two games played between the two sides have also ended in a tie.

Things are the same when it comes to games played between the two sides in the African country. Here too, the visitors have an upper edge between the two teams in terms of matches won. India has won 19 of the 23 games played between the two sides here. On the other hand, hosts Zimbabwe have won merely four games.

Predicted Playing XI

Zimbabwe: Milton Shumba, Innocent Kaia, Regis Chakabva (C & WK), Sikandar Raza, Wesley Madhevare, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Donald Tiripano, Victor Nyauchi, Richard Ngarava

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, KL Rahul (C & WK), Sanju Samson, Axar Patel, Deepak Hooda, Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Ravi Bishnoi

Key Players

Sikandar Raza was at his absolute best against Bangladesh

Sikandar Raza was at his absolute best against Bangladesh

Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe): The Pakistan-born cricketer has been the mainstay of the Zimbabwe batting for several years now and he recently hit back-to-back centuries against Bangladesh to help his team beat the Asian side. Sikandar would want to emulate his heroics against the big boys from India as well.

A look at his record since 2021 shows that Raza has been one of the leading batters in 50-over cricket. His tally of 627 runs in 13 matches at an average of 62.70 is the fourth highest in international cricket behind Babar Azam, Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock. His form at Harare has been tremendous and he is now the third highest run-getter in ODIs at the venue behind Zimbabwe greats like Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza.

KL Rahul (India): Undoubtedly, the focus will be on Rahul, who will be back after a long injury layoff. The 30-year-old has passed the fitness test and is raring to go. The question is where he will bat. India has lots of options when it comes to opening.

KL Rahul played his last white-ball game for India in February 2022 against West Indies at home, in which he scored 49 runs. It was an ODI game. 

Prediction

Zimbabwe might have scored an impressive T20I and ODI series win over Bangladesh recently at the Harare Sports Club, but India is a different fish. Zimbabwe will have to work hard to overcome the depth and skill level in this Indian side. For that reason, we will pick India as the winner in the first ODI on Thursday.

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