Internet Desk: Much of the hype surrounding India at this tournament has been around their fast bowlers Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti and batsman Prithvi Shaw. Today however, the pacers took just one wicket between them and Shaw didn’t bat – if you’d offered that outcome to Zimbabwe at the start they’d have been delighted to accept.
India instead relied on their change bowlers and spinners, who used the more prosaic methods of run-rate strangulation and pressure-building rather than searing pace to dismiss Zimbabwe for 154, which Shubman Gill and Harvik Desai, promoted to open to get time in the middle, chased down with ease.
The one wicket that did fall to the openers was an absolute pearler however, Mavi bending one back in from miles outside off between the chasm Zimbabwe opener Greg Dollar had left between bat and pad to hit the top of off. Zimbabwe were 7/1 and having extracted such extravagant movement one wondered whether they would collapse in a heap.
It is to their credit that they survived and fought to a platform of 110/3. But having done so, it will be much to their chagrin that they then squandered it with a collapse of 7/44. That was as much down to the squeeze applied by India as it was to Zimbabwean profligacy however.
Though the dismissals look bad in isolation – apart from Dollar, only top-scorer Milton Shumba, deceived in the flight and dragged out of his crease by Anukul Roy before being stumped by Harvik Desai, can claim to have been gotten out by an individual good ball – the poor shots played were largely forced on them; with few scoring options available, risks had to be taken.
Roy once again claimed the best figures, bowling with guile and accuracy. He now has 10 wickets in this tournament at an average of 7, and his efforts today put India well on the way to a third win in three.
The job was finished with aplomb by Desai and Gill, taking the attack to the Zimbabwe bowlers from the outset, in a hurry to finish the game as quickly as possible. Gill was particularly brutal, striking 14 fours and a six on his way to 90 off 59 for which he earned the player of the match award.
Prithvi Shaw is the most-hyped player at this tournament, and with good reason. But Gill now has an average of 103.33 from 13 Under 19 ODIs, and it would be folly not to track his career with interest as well.
This India team have swept all before them in the group stages, moving comfortably to the Super League quarter-finals. They will take some stopping.