Team India secured yet another enthralling series triumph on Monday after defeating Zimbabwe in the third and final ODI of the series. Shubman Gill’s stellar maiden ODI century and a spectacular catch in the penultimate over aided India to hang on to a 13-run victory after a valiant ton from Sikandar Raza brought the hosts back from their ashes.
Chasing a target of 290 runs, the hosts were reduced to 169 for 7 at one point. It was the heroics of Raza that dragged Zimbabwe back into the game, to a point where they looked favourites to cross the line with 15 to get off 9 balls. The seasoned batter had hardly put a foot wrong in his 115-run innings but stumbled when it mattered the most.
Raza mistimed a knuckleball from Shardul Thakur which was travelling towards Gill at long-on. He sprinted and dived forward to catch the ball just inches above the ground, displaying his tremendous fielding prowess.
Raza’s head sulked in disappointment, but the prominence of his impetuous innings could be measured by how the Indian players reacted immediately after his dismissal. India wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan was first to sprint towards Raza and congratulated him by patting on his back. Spinner Kuldeep Yadav then joined him to acknowledge Raza’s astonishing effort. Shubhman Gill also congratulated Raza while he made his walk back to the pavilion amidst a standing ovation from the Harare crowd.
First with the bat and then with a diving catch, this man won our hearts more than once today 😍
— Sony Sports Network (@SonySportsNetwk) August 22, 2022
Batting first in “challenging” conditions, India lost their skipper KL Rahul early who significantly looked scratchy. His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan also returned without making much of an impact. It was then time for Gill to prove his batting prowess yet again. He timed the ball exquisitely and compiled stroke-filled innings of 130 runs off 97 deliveries to propel India to post 289 runs on the board.
Chasing a stiff target, the Zimbabwe top order failed to fire yet again. Skipper Regis Chakabva and Raza steadied the ship for the home side but Chakabva soon fell to Axar Patel. Raza then led the charge singlehandedly while wickets kept tumbling at the other end. But his valiant efforts weren’t enough to take Zimbabwe over the line.