Indian bowlers, led by pacer Jasprit Bumrah, engineered yet another batting collapse of Zimbabwe to dismiss them for a lowly 123 in 42.2 overs in the third and final cricket ODI, in Harare on Wednesday.
It was a huge embarrassment for Zimbabwe who lost five wickets in a space of 11 deliveries with an addition of four runs in a match that turned out to be an action replay of the two earlier lopsided contests. Worse, four batsmen were dismissed in four consecutive deliveries, which also included a run-out.
From 104 for 3 in 32.4 overs, Zimbabwe slumped to 108 for 8 in 34.3 overs as none of the home players showed any resilience in-front a disciplined Indian bowling attack.
In fact, Zimbabwe lost 8 wickets for 34 runs after being in a relatively safe position of 89 for 2 in the 29th over.
Bumrah was fast and also got vicious inward movement to end with figures of 4/22 in 10 overs while spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2/25 in 8 overs) and Axar Patel (1/16 in 10 overs), also maintained their consistent run in the series.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also reached a ‘mini milestone’ in his ODI career when he took his 350th victim (catch and stumping) — a smart catch off Bumrah to dismiss Elton Chigumbura (0).
Dhoni now stands fourth in the overall list behind Kumar Sangakkara (482 victims), Adam Gilchrist (472) and mark Boucher (424 victims).
Zimbabwe’s performance in the series has been so appalling that their sequence of scores have gone from bad to worse — 168, 126 and now 123.
Zimbabwe once again made a tentative start against the new-ball pair of Kulkarni and Sran, both of whom got appreciable movement off the pitch.
Seasoned Hamilton Masakadza (8) saw Kulkarni bowling to the channel outside off-stump as the Mumbai seamer got the ball to move away from the right-hander after pitching.
After playing and missing a few, Masakadza tried an audacious drive without getting to the pitch of the delivery and KL Rahul took a regulation catch.
Chamu Chibhabha (27) and Vusimuzi Sibanda (38) negotiated the new ball safely but could never force the pace of the innings.
It was Chahal, who dealt a double blow, not afraid to flight his deliveries.
A tossed up delivery saw Chibhabha take the aerial route only to be caught at long-off boundary by Bumrah.
Chahal also got top-scorer Sibanda, who had faced 71 deliveries, by tossing one up. The batsman was beaten in the flight and the bowler got a return catch.
Post Sibanda’s dismissal, it was the same script of losing wickets in a heap.