Fast bowler Brad Evans became the first Zimbabwean in 25 years to take five wickets against India while Sikandar Raza hit 115 runs, but their efforts were in vain as Indian hung on for a 13-run victory to claim series whitewash in the third and final one-day international (ODI) match at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

Zimbabwe were hoping to salvage some pride in the match, restricting India to 289, but ran out of steam when it mattered the most, having come within touching distance of a famous victory.

It was Raza and Evans, who won the hearts of the fans with memorable performances, including a 104-run eighth wicket partnership as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 276.

Evans, playing in only his fifth ODI match since making his debut against Bangladesh earlier this month finished with figures of 5-54 and became the third Zimbabwean to get a fiver against India.

Eddo Brandes was the first to achieve the feat with figures of five for 41 in January 1997 and former captain Heath followed suit the following month taking five for 32.

As they have always done in the series, Indian won the toss but this time they opted to bat first and their openers had a decent start before Evans bowled out KL Rahul for 30 with 63 runs on the board.

He went on to claim the scalps of Shikhar Dhawan (40), Deepak Hooda (1), Shardul Thakur (9) and top scorer Shubman Gill, who achieved highest ODI score by an Indian at Harare Sports Club of 130.

Ishan Kishan also contributed 50 runs before he was run out by Tony Munyonga, while Luke Jongwe and Victor Nyauchi finished with one wicket apiece.

In the end, India could only set a target of 289, giving the hosts hopes of avoiding a whitewash.

For the umpteenth time Zimbabwe’s chase got off to the worst possible start with Innocent Kaia going back to the pavilion in the third over for 6, with just seven runs on the board.

A second wicket stand involving opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano (13) and veteran Sean Williams, and later Tony Munyonga after the former retired hurt repaired the damage, pushing Zimbabwe to 82 for two.

Williams was the second Zimbabwe wicket to fall for 45 and Munyonga (13) followed seven balls later leaving the scores at 84 for 3.

Raza then added 36 runs together with captain Regis Chakabva who departed for 16 runs, caught and bowled by Axar Patel in the 27th over.

Raza watched wickets tumble on the other end as Kaitano, Burl (8) and Luke Jongwe all went cheaply, leaving Zimbabwe was reeling at 169 for seven.

Evans then joined the fray and supported Raza brilliantly for his 36-ball 28 knock, but lost his wicket at the crucial moment, with Zimbabwe needing 17 runs to win and 12 balls remaining after he was trapped leg before wicket by Avash Khan.

And with Evans’ dismissal, victory for Zimbabwe went up in smoke as Raza followed four balls later and Nyauchi was the last man to go for a duck, clean bowled by Khan.

Source Newsday