Harare: Ambati Rayudu ton and Stuart Binny's all-round show help India beat Zimbabwe by 4 runs in 1st ODI at Harare. India take 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
After being sent in to bat, India stumbled to 87 for five before Rayudu (124 not out from 133 balls) and Stuart Binny (77 from 76 balls) put on an Indian record 160 for the sixth wicket to help the tourists reach 255 for six in their 50 overs.
Zimbabwe battled to keep up with the rate on a slow wicket but late fireworks from captain Elton Chigumbura (104 not out from 101 balls) saw them need 10 off the final over.
They reduced that to six from three balls but Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled brilliantly to concede just a single from there and India could breath again having restricted the hosts to 251 for seven.
Chigumbura waited 174 matches for his maiden ODI ton and now has two in as many innings but will be desperately disappointed not to have got his side over the line.
Earlier, A career-best 124 not out from Ambati Rayudu allowed India to recover from a shaky start and post 255 for six.
Some disciplined bowling in helpful conditions saw Zimbabwe reduce the tourists to 87 for five inside the opening 25 overs, but Rayudu's record stand with all-rounder Stuart Binny guided a second-string Indian side to a competitive total.
The pair shared a 160-run partnership for the sixth wicket -- a record for India in Zimbabwe -- as Binny notched up his maiden one-day fifty.
Binny was eventually caught behind in the penultimate over of the innings for 77 from 76 balls.
Binny continued his fine match with 2 for 54 with the ball but left-arm slow bowler Axel Patal (2 for 41) was the pick of the tourists' attack.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, playing his first ODI in over four years, returned figures of one for 46 in his 10 overs.
India - 255/6 (Rayudu 124*, Binny 77)
Zimbabwe - 251/7 (Chigumbura 104*)
Result - India won by 4 runs
MOM - Ambati Rayudu (India)