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India takes an unassailable lead

India rode on a solid all-round performance to crush Zimbabwe by 62 runs in the second One Day International, and thereby take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match cricket series, here on Sunday.

Batting first, India scored 271 for eight in 50 overs largely due to a 112-run opening stand between M. Vijay (72) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (63). In reply, Zimbabwe only managed 209 in 49 overs as the Indian bowlers maintained a stranglehold on the opposition batting.

A loss of three wickets in the first 11 overs, including that of century-maker Elton Chigumbura, turned the match decisively in India’s favour. Chamu Chibhabha (72, 100 balls) top-scored but that was never going to enough for the home team to cross the finishing line in this match.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers with figures of four for 33 in 10 overs and along with Dhawal Kulkarni provided initial breakthroughs while spinners Harbhajan Singh (one for 29) and Axar Patel (one for 40) kept a tight leash on batsmen during the middle overs.

Unlike the first match, the Indian team was far better in both departments as it upped its game by a few notches.

Earlier, sent into bat by Chigumbura, the Indians relied on Vijayâs 95-ball-72 and Rahane’s 63 off 83 balls to lay a foundation with an opening stand of 112 in 26 overs.

In-form Ambati Rayudu contributed 41 off 50 balls, hitting three boundaries, while Rahane found the fence seven times. Vijay struck a four and two sixes.

There were partnerships worth 47 and 44 runs for the second and third wickets, with Rayudu involved in both, but the Indians could not accelerate the scoring.

Manoj Tiwary (22) failed to capitalise after getting a start, while Robin Uthappa (13) and Stuart Binny (25) tried to prop up the innings towards the end with some brisk scoring.

23-year-old medium pace bowler Neville Madziva, who was picked ahead of an injured Tinashe Panyangara, was the star performer for Zimbabwe with four for 47.

India fielded the same team that won the opening ODI by four runs, while Zimbabwe made one change with Panyangara making way for Madziva.

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