Written by Lahiru Fernando
14 Mar, 2015 | 3:45 pm
The 39th match of the on-going cricket world cup got underway at Auckland on Saturday as the defending champions took on the underdogs Zimbabwe earlier in the day.
The defending champions who have already cemented their place in the quarter-finals won the toss and elected to field, inviting Zimbabwe, who were playing their final match of the world cup to bat first.
Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza opened the innings for Zimbabwe but both openers and the third wicket of Solomon Mire fell early on the innings putting Zimbabwe on 33 runs for the loss of 3 wickets.
Skipper Brendan Taylor who came in to bat his final knock for Zimbabwe in international cricket said goodbye with style as he put up a fantastic performance to post 138 runs in just 110 deliveries. The knock included 14 boundaries and 5 sixes. Taylor was later dismissed by Mohit Sharma as he lofted one into the hands of Shikhar Dhawan.
Sean Williams scored a brilliant half century in 57 deliveries to assist the skipper push Zimbabwe to a total of 287 runs as they lost all wickets with 7 deliveries remaining in the innings.
The Indian camp, which managed to sweep through the zimbabwe batting line-up and ended the run at 287 was assisted by Ravichandra Ashwin who claimed one wicket as Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma bagged 3 wickets each.
India, known for their powerful batting line-up came into bat with confidence but lost the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Dhawan early, leaving India 21 runs for the loss of 2 wickets.
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane managed to get going before Rahane was run out on 19 and danger-man Kohli was later bowled off the gloves at 38 by Sikandar Raza.
The Zimbabwe bowling camp kept the pressure on the Indian batsmen, restricting the defending the sub-continent team to just 98 runs for the loss of four wickets at the end of the 25th over.
Tides changed quickly though as Suresh Raina, who took his very own time to get settled on the crease, scored a much needed century and ended the innings unbeaten at 110 runs off 104 deliveries as the Indian skipper MS Dhoni posted an unbeaten 85 runs in just 76 deliveries.
Raina put up a mammoth unbeaten 196 run partnership with Dhoni as the duo saw the innings through, taking India into the knock-out stages as an undefeated team.
India won the match scoring 288 runs at the expense of four wickets with eight balls remaining.
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